I received a few emails last week in the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox concerning jobs. One was an inquiry looking to post a job to a “job board” or similar feature on our web site (we do not have such a feature, and instead partner with Monster and Dice). Another was from an iSeries worker who was currently between jobs in Atlanta, GA., looking for a new position. At the end of the week, I received an email from another 400 head-hunter passing along a press release regarding the H1-B visa program.
I am sure we have all seen headlines regarding the H-1B visas, with lobbyists testifying at Congressional hearings about the need to expand the number of H-1B visas and thus the number of qualified workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. One of the leading proponents of expanding the program is Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, who testified to Congress about the need for more “innovation” in the United States.
“While America’s innovation heritage is unparalleled, the evidence is mounting that we are failing to make the investments in our young people, our workers, our scientific research infrastructure, and our economy that will enable us to retain our global innovation leadership,” said Gates. “If the United States truly wants to secure its global leadership in technology innovation, we must, as a nation, commit to a strategy for innovation excellence – a set of initiatives and policies that will provide the foundation for American competitive strength in the years ahead.”
Top on his list was strengthening educational opportunities for US school children. But next was “Revamping immigration rules for highly skilled workers, so that U.S. companies can attract and retain the world’s best scientific talent.”
The press release that was forwarded from the head-hunter regarded a study by Norman Matloff, professor of computer science at University of California – Davis, who disagrees with the notion that foreign workers provide “innovation” to the United States. His recent study, H-1Bs: Still Not the Best and the Brightest, argues that foreign workers are “are people of just ordinary talent, doing ordinary work. They are not the innovators the industry lobbyists portray them to be.”
Other controversies surrounding the H-1B issue include fraud assessment of the H1-B visa program, which has been spearheaded by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In 2007, Grassley partnered with Senator Dick Durbin (R-Ill.) on a bill to overhaul the HB-1 visa program.
This controversy has been in the news for the past year, but what does this mean to you? Are you like the reader I heard from: an IT professional who is having a hard time finding a good paying job? Or are you a recruiter having difficulty filling positions? Do you think this is just anti-immigrant hype? Please share your thoughts.