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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

CANADA GETS AMERICAN JOBS

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I reported on this story the other day, but here's an article from Canadian magazine IT Business quoting me and my Canadian colleague Sergio Karas discussing the Microsoft announcement of its nearsourcing of its new research center in Vancouver. You can almost hearing the Canadians chuckling at how the US is shooting itself in the foot with our antiquated employment immigration system.

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  1. legal immigrant's Avatar
    Canada is probably more immigrant-friendly. Going to Canada is becoming a good choice.
  2. R. Lawson's Avatar
    Just another "global" company that has no loyalty to any particular country. Looks like they forgot who brought them to the dance.

    Canada didn't make Microsoft one of the planet's largest companies. US corporations and American consumers purchase more Microsoft products than any other nation.

    I think this little hissy fit by Microsoft was a bad move politically. It shows their true colors - which are to blackmail with threats of job loss if they don't get their way. And if that doesn't work, they just cut and run.

    Bill Gates' legacy is forever tarnished by this move.
  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Roy - Attacking the patriotism of companies that outsource will get you nowhere. Remember when Walmart used to tout its American-made products with special signs all over the store? They quietly stopped that campaign when they found that Americans preferred lower prices rather than paying more for the home produced stuff. You will find that our companies care a lot more about pleasing American consumers than disgruntled programmers. Sorry, but I think Bill Gates didn't get to be one of the world's richest men by misreading the American public.

    But I do like seeing you squirm on this issue because I remember you playing this down as a serious threat to American jobs. All of the anti-H-1B arguments fall apart when outsourcing comes in to play because while Congress can keep the number of H-1Bs down, they don't have the ability to stop companies from moving operations abroad. Treaty obligations and the interests of the US economy dictate that.
  4. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "But I do like seeing you squirm on this issue because I remember you playing this down as a serious threat to American jobs."

    I'm not squirming on this one. We have always known that the H-1b visa enables offshoring - which is why the offshore outsourcing firms are the greatest users of the visa.

    I doubt that Microsoft will find much savings in Canada - and if they do we need to become more competitive. I am fully prepared to compete with Canada. We have many more immigrants than Canada, so the argument is really mute there.

    I am all for competition, however the playing field should be level. Canada has a much more level playing field than countries like India and China. Those countries manipulate their currencies, China heavily subsidizes industry, and both have high levels of poverty and corruption.

    Canada is a different story. They are a more developed country and in many ways I like their immigration system better than our own.

    Does Canada even have employer sponsored visas? Or can immigrants come and work for whom they want without penalty when it comes to changing jobs?

    As long as the numbers were balanced I would support a system similar to what Canada has (based upon my limited knowledge of their system). Canada actually needs heavy immigration for growth - clearly they will benefit from this considering their low population. We did well with heavy immigration early last century.

    However, immigration should be designed to build a nation, not to build up a specific industry. What we have here is clearly market intervention and described by Milton Friedman as a labor subsidy. The H-1b visa should be rather balanced across all occupations - which clearly it is not.
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