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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

CONSUMER ELECTRONIC ASSOCIATION WARNS AGAINST RESTRICTING THE MOVEMENT OF GLOBAL TALENT

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The annual Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week in Las Vegas. This is the gadget wonderland I've attended for the last several years. Due to my father's illness, I decided to skip this year's show. But I'm avidly watching online for announcements of the year's best new innovations.

The show is put on by the Consumer Electronics Association and they've recently launched "The Innovation Movement" which seeks to encourage public policies that foster innovation and promote prosperity. The movement embraces a lot of issues and I'm pleased to see liberalizing immigration policies in the technology sector among the issues on the movement agenda. Here's more:

Encourage the best and brightest to stay in America



  • H1B visa reform so that foreign graduates of U.S. schools become American employees and add to the wealth of this nation.

  • Immigrants founded more than half of all Silicon Valley
    start-ups created in the past decade. These immigrant-founded companies
    employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in revenue in 2006.


The anti-innovation protectionists will no doubt be ready to attack. But I'll remind readers that most of those cool electronic items Americans love and which have been developed by American companies, had immigrants on the development teams.

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    Innovation does not depend on H1B. A team of global scientists working in Singapore for an American corporation, and including a couple of H1B rejects, plus the head of the Singapore Genome Institute, Dr. Edison Liu, a US citizen who was supposedly denied promotion in the US government due to politics (and racims?)are doing the same work that H1Bs can do here. The problem is with tax revenues. Foreign citizens working for US corporations in places such as Singapore pay taxes there..it means one job moving abroad..perhaps tens of thousands of dollars in reduced tax revenue and social security receipts and likely higher unemployment because support staff would not be hired here. Either Americans compete by getting themselves educated and eschewing large education budget cuts, similar to the one in Virginia, or let in foreign talent. Otherwise, jobs will move abroad and unemployment will stay high. Pretty surprising folks like Joe Stiglitz and Kenneth Rogoff who run off their mouths did not make a statement to this effect at the American Economic Association Conference. They did highlight lack of American skills and high unemployment..they did not explain why.

    Now, Charles Grassley is making sure that we get even less tax revenues. He is pushing for free trade agreements which will make it easy for jobs to move abroad, and at the same time shut down H1B which will encourage this trend. In addition, he also wants to tax Americans working abroad earning less than $82,000. At least these days corporations employ a few Americans abroad. Force the citizens abroad to pay taxes, the corporation will not bear the cost, but instead will hire foreigners which means even less tax revenues. Grassley wants to destroy Social Security and Medicare and impose draconian spending cuts in education, etc. In short Chuck Grassley is working towards the economic destruction of this country by bleeding it to death!
  2. Edward's Avatar
    Sorry to go off topic but I just wanted to post this article I ran across today about a group in Miami fasting for immigration reform.

    The article is at http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/01/five_in_homestead_fasting_in_h.php and the blog for the group is at http://fastforfamilies.blogspot.com/

    Good luck to them.
  3. gg's Avatar

    UCLA study claims legalisation to bring in 1.5 Trillion over a decade ...

    USCIS to become fat cat ( this is my claim .. netting over 150 billion in legalisation fees, job security for slackers )

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/raising_the_floor.html
  4. bob's Avatar
    H1b do not start companies this is a lie.
  5. Sid's Avatar
    bob,

    Many H-1Bs start their companies on the side while they are waiting for their green card. They obviously cannot draw a salary from their startups but they can invest their spare time and get seed funding from investors. Once they get the green card, they can quit the sponsor and work on their startup full-time. This is fairly common in the bay area. Most first time founders (even citizens) do this. They do not just quit their full-time jobs without any funding to cover their living expenses. To get funding you need to build a prototype. These are not dotcom bubble days.
  6. LFWF's Avatar
    Sure Bob, it is all a lie.
    You started one right? We are all waiting with breathless anticipation for you to rescue the economy. Take some (unusual) effort and check on startups in the tech sector...find out how many founders are foreign born. They may not be H1B at this time, but where do you think they started?
  7. Levan's Avatar
    "immigrant-founded companies employed 450,000 workers"

    Sorry none of these are founded by H1B people. And with more than 1.5 million H1B already in the U.S. taking over American Jobs which means that 1.5 million - 450,000 = +1.05 (net) million unemployed American workers whose jobs have been taken away. That doesn't include their family members (millions more) who use American resources such as healthcare, educational resources. Tell me why this is a a positive thing?

    This is a total lie about engineering shortage and the best and the brighest. H1B is all about labor arbitrage -- cheap and slave labor -- and corporate GREED.
  8. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I know a number of individuals who came on H-1Bs and when they eventually got their green cards, went off and started successful companies that employ American workers. This is extremely common.
  9. LFWF's Avatar
    "That doesn't include their family members (millions more) who use American resources such as healthcare, educational resources. Tell me why this is a a positive thing? "

    Use? Have you forgotten that they pay taxes, SS and Medicare? If they are taking away, well so are you. What exactly is your complaint here? You want slaves that work without families and get no health care? Just a reminder, that would depress your wages further.

    You have a head start, you are a citizen with American education, so called language skills and so called work skills. So why can't you compete instead of whining? Especially today, when the cost of sponsoring a visa is prohibitive for cash strapped companies.
  10. levan's Avatar
    "I know a number of individuals who came on H-1Bs and when they eventually got their green cards, went off and started successful companies that employ American workers. This is extremely common."

    I respectfully disagree. I actually work with a lot of H1B engineers in Silicon Valley and the vast majority of them are average. But my American engineering friends who graduated from some of America's top universities (M.I.T, Stanford, Berkeley) are unemployed because companies prefer to hire H1B because they are much cheaper and they are indentured to the companies since they want to stay here and they cannot change job.

    Extremely common? Unemployment rate among IT workers is very high due to H1B. Regarding entrepreneurship, the U.S. already has a Visa program for those who can invest at least $500K into the U.S. to start a company which hires at least 10 people. I would rather trust a proven entrepreneur who have started a company rather than some unknown H1B whose qualifications are questionable. Fraud is so rampant with the H1B program. Many of the H1B people get "ghost" degrees from "phantom" universities in India and you are telling me that they will be the next Sergrey Brin. Give me a break!
  11. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    LFWF - I had to chuckle regarding the comment "so called language skills". I get my share of hate mail and this post generated one I put in my hall of fame. Here is the text of one I got last night (which I've cut and pasted exactly as it reads) that isn't exactly going to garner sympathy with the protectionist crowd:

    "H1b is new way to discriminate against anyone over 35.
    And wipe out the middle class.
    You do not know what you are talking about.
    the biggest visa users are Indian sweat shops that outsource jobs out of usa.

    They conribute nothing for USA in fact the steal from us.

    Typical jew lawyer"
  12. George Chell's Avatar
    "Extremely common? Unemployment rate among IT workers is very high due to H1B."

    Unemployment among IT workers is very high because the jobs are following prospecting immigrants. Your ranting does not make any sense.
  13. George Chell's Avatar
    Jobs are not being created in the US as they are following the market and moving abroad to countries such as Singapore and Australia and yes, China and India.
  14. George Chell's Avatar
    I will bet anything that a significant proportion of jobs created in Australia is due to American FDI..moving jobs to immigrant friendly countries...

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/optimism-grows-for-job-seekers-20100108-lxrv.html

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-01-07/australia-facing-next-boom-billionaire-harvey-says-update1-.html
  15. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "That doesn't include their family members (millions more) who use American resources such as healthcare, educational resources. Tell me why this is a a positive thing? "

    Well, ask a pharmacist who just got hired because there are more people in the area (and their dreaded family members) who can afford to pay for healthcare. Or ask a teacher who got hired because there are more people with kids paying property taxes. And we all know how well those kids perform at school, just look at the faces at the spelling bee competitions ;-)

    If you think having shinking population is better, then you must like Detroit and Cleveland a lot. Except you probably would not want to live there. There is a reason why you got that cushy job in the Silicon Valley, and that reason is probably immigrants.
  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "If you think having shinking population is better, then you must like Detroit and Cleveland a lot."

    Perhaps he likes Belarus and Ukraine or even Eastern Russia with very high unemployment. There are plenty of idiot Aussies including the xenophobic former immigration Minister Kevin Andrews and the short-sighted demographer Bob Birell, who would rather live in Belarus and Ukraine with less people than in the overcrowded metro areas of Sydney and Melbourne which are creating thousands of new jobs every month..and of course there are enough idiots who would rather live in Belarus or the flat broke Iceland than in the most overcrowded country in the world, the Republic of Singapore which is expected to grow at 5-7% per annum this year...the amazing tendency of folks living in countries such as Australia wanting to commit suicide and go the way of underpopulated countries such as Belarus never ceases to amaze me!
  17. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Levan - There are three million workers in the IT sector. IT represents only about 40% of the H-1B workers coming to the US so the raw number in the 65,000 quota can simply not be a huge factor in the IT job market. This year the proportion of IT workers in the H-1B is expected to decline further because market forces actually work - more IT unemployment has dramatically reduced H-1B usage in that sector. When quality US workers are available, they get hired first.
  18. George Chell's Avatar
    "When quality US workers are available, they get hired first."

    Absolutely right, and according to Joseph Stiglitz unqualified Americans also get hired particularly in the finance sector...

    http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1018728.shtml

    "As for the bonus culture, Stiglitz said it's a myth that Wall Street is populated by the best and the brightest who deserve their big paydays. "When I look at the salaries some of our 'B' students got [on Wall Street], it doesn't correspond to their innate ability.""

    While else do you think the economy is in such a mess?

    And as Dale Jorgensen of Harvard puts it bluntly...

    "It's easy to be dismal about the US economy," said Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University, whose research focuses on on productivity. He sees a deterioration in the quality of the labour force causing productivity growth to fall to 1.5% a year this decade from 2% a year in the last 10 years.

    As much as I do not like Stiglitz personally, he is not a fool and definitely not Dale Jorgensen!

  19. Sid's Avatar
    "But my American engineering friends who graduated from some of America's top universities (M.I.T, Stanford, Berkeley) are unemployed because companies prefer to hire H1B because they are much cheaper and they are indentured to the companies since they want to stay here and they cannot change job."

    There must be a decent number of graduates from these top universities that are members of Programmers Guild then. If that is true, why don't you make them the spokespersons of PG instead of losers from random state universities like Kim Berry. Maybe more Americans will believe in your cause if they hear from unemployed geniuses from MIT and Stanford.
  20. levan's Avatar
    "IT represents only about 40% of the H-1B workers coming to the US so the raw number in the 65,000 quota can simply not be a huge factor in the IT job market."

    Whenever I hear about argument how tiny the proportion of H-1B that makes up the U.S. labor market, I cringe. Yeah right! If you count hamburger flipppers, gardeners, toilet cleaners, etc. Then of course, it is tiny of the whole U.S workforce. But H-1B makes up a very high proportion of IT workers. At many companies in Silicon Valley, H-1B people makes up a majority of the engineers there.

    To say that H-1B doesn't have a big impact on IT workers is either lying or you don't know what you are talking about.
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