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Chinese Immig. Daily
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What do Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google co-Founder Sergey Brin, Intel Director of Government Relations Peter Muller, Qualcomm Government Affairs Analyst Ayush Soni, Microsoft co-Founder Bill Gates, Motorola Solutions Vice President of Human Resources Michele Carlin, Shell’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources (Americas) Bruce Culpepper, Coca-Cola Company Chief People Officer Ceree Eberly, Johnson & Johnson Chief Human Resources Officer Peter M. Fasolo, Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Hewlett-Packard Company Tracy Keogh, Wendy's Chief People Officer Scott A. Weisberg, McDonald's Chief Human Resources Officer Richard R. Floersch, Marriott Corporation President/CEO Arne Sorenson, and Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman all have in common?
Apart from being creative, successful, forward-thinking business executives, each signed a letter petition to President Obama, dated March 14, 2013, urging him to move forward with immigration reform for highly-skilled workers. The letter opened by stating, “[o]ne of the biggest economic challenges facing our nation is the need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, who can create jobs and immediately contribute to and improve our economy.” The letter went on to explain that our broken immigration system is in need of major reform for highly-skilled professionals, in stating: "because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas. Some do not bother to come in the first place. This is often due to visa shortages, long waits for green cards, and lack of mobility. We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards..."
The resounding message in the letter was that the experience of not only the tech sector, but of all major U.S. industries, shows us that immigrants to the U.S. are a powerful force for entrepreneurship and innovation at every level, from start-ups to multinational corporations. The words of Peter Muller at Intel Corp resonate with the madness of the H-1B cap season, in stating, “[w]e can't find enough workers so we really need to fill that gap [for highly-skilled jobs] — and having a working immigration system is an important part of that".
All indications point to a record number of H-1B petitions filed during the first week of April—petitions seeking to fill highly-skilled professional positions that employers across the U.S. are unable to otherwise fill with qualified U.S. workers.
And what will this H-1B year’s lottery bring? For those selected, an opportunity to remain in (or move to) the U.S. and become part of workforce that consists of the world’s brightest minds to help the United States to remain competitive in the world’s economy.
As to those not selected -- utter frustration to countless U.S. employers and profound disappointment to tens of thousands of highly skilled foreign nationals, a majority of whom received their undergraduate or graduate degrees from a U.S. college or university. And as stated by Ayush Soni of Qualcomm: "We are competing globally now. We're also now competing with Chinese companies, Taiwanese companies, Korean companies. If we can't put a worker in San Diego or wherever our supply chips are, then they'll go and compete somewhere else. That's a very, very big detriment on our business.”
The petition to the President spearheaded by Mark Zuckerburg was sent a little more than one year ago. So as we are about turn away approximately 1 out of 2 of this year’s H-1B applicants, due to an outdated, insufficient H-1B quota, how many more years will it take to have a more logical U.S. immigration policy in place—one which would attract the tens or hundreds of thousands of people who we want to attract in particular, in terms of education and skills? Where we not only educate them, but in the words of Warren Buffett, “give them an opportunity to enhance their talents and have them stick around here."