Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers - InformationWeek
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02:24 PM

Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers

Arizona Rep. Tim Griffin cites new study that foreigners with advanced technology degrees create more jobs than they take.

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Congressman Tim Griffin plans to introduce legislation that would make it easier for foreign tech workers who were educated in the United States to obtain a green card.

"We have a shortage of STEM graduates with advanced degrees here in the United States, which hinders American job creators' ability to grow their businesses and hire additional employees," said the Arkansas Republican, in a statement Thursday.

"Many highly skilled immigrants study in the U.S. but are forced to return home after graduation, where they work to strengthen their home nation's economy to compete against ours. I am working on legislation that will change the system so that we can keep the best and the brightest, which will strengthen our economy and create jobs here in America," Griffin added.

Staff at Griffin's Washington, D.C. office did not immediate respond to a request for further comment.

Foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities can usually get an H-1B visa to work in the United States, but such visas are good only for a maximum of six years, and the holder can only work for the company that sponsored the H-1B. If the student has no family ties in the country, obtaining a green card, which grants the right to live and work permanently in the U.S. for any employer, can be difficult and take years.

[ It took only two months to fill this year's allocation of H-1B Visas: No More Until Late 2012. ]

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services usually issues no more than about 140,000 employment-based green cards per year. Backers of immigration reform say that's not enough to fuel America's high-tech economy.

Griffin's comments came in support of a study released Thursday that contends that skilled immigrants create more jobs than they take up. The study, co-sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for A New American Economy, claims that for every science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-educated worker living in the United States, 2.62 new jobs are created.

"At a time when job creation should be our highest priority, the study released [Thursday] casts light on some of the greatest potential areas for growth, at no cost to taxpayers," said New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who co-chairs the Partnership. "It's time for Washington to restart the conversation on immigration reform--and to center it on our economic needs.

Other partnership members include the CEOs of Microsoft, AOL, eBay, Xerox, and Compuware, as well as tech and sports entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Microsoft officials have previously said that the company has about 10,000 open positions it can't fill due to a lack of qualified workers.

The study also found that for every 100 H-1B workers introduced into the economy, an additional 183 jobs are created for U.S. natives. It also said that the average, foreign-born adult with an advanced degree pays more than $22,500 in taxes, while receiving about $2,300 in benefits.

"The report adds important evidence to the case that economists have been making for years: that identifiable categories of immigrants unquestionably give a lift to native employment," said Madeleine Zavodny, an economist at Agnes Scott College and a co-author of the report.

The report backers are calling for legislation that would give green card priority to high-tech workers who studied at a U.S. university, increase the overall supply of green cards, and raise the numerical limit on H-1B visas, which currently sits at 85,000.

The House last month voted to eliminate per-country caps on employment-based green cards, a move that could make it easier for tech workers from highly populated nations like India and China to obtain permanent resident status. The Senate is expected to approve the new rules.

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/18/2011 | 9:56:52 PM
re: Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers
Here at IBM, US workers number 55,000 fewer employees, and many of them were a part of a "resource action". The plan is to bring India and China workers here to be trained by us - and use this Green Card as a way in - so they can then return to their home countries and steal the job of some American for dimes on the dollar. And wouldn't you know, a Republican is repeating the lie of the shortage of US tech workers - HOW ABOUT the thousands of US I/T workers who were fired in the last 3 years? Republicans are hellbent to deliver profits to the CEOs, no matter what the cost to the American people. And keep spreading the lie about the shortage of US tech workers... as if US Companies were actually contemplating a US expansion! Occupy IBM, Occupy Microsoft, Occupy Xerox. Occupy GE. Jail terms for the treasonous CEOs who brought America to brink of disaster just to grow more corporate neckfat.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2011 | 8:11:35 PM
re: Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers
Good Lord. We just had an article out here a month ago that showed companies were using the program to fill low tech jobs and undercut salaries of U.S. workers. We've already established that companies are scamming this program with actual hard evidence. Are we really going to keep pretending there is an actual need for this cap to increase???
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2011 | 5:27:54 PM
re: Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers
Hey, lobbying (er, bribing) U.S. legislators is big business. One of the companies behind this push is Intel Corporation, which is seeking further substitution of young imported workers, ideally trained at taxpayer expense, for experienced American citizen technical professionals. It seems that Intel perceives that their profits are increased via discriminating against experienced Americans in hiring decisions.

The Senate Office of Public Records website shows that with Client Name: Intel, Filing Year: 2011, Issue: Immigration that Intel Corporation has expended $3,231,290.00 in the 2011 reports tabulated to date. Microsoft, etc. are spending similar large sums to help procure legislation that benefits employer interests at the expense of older American IT professionals. As I note in my 2007 investigative article "The Greedy Gates Immigration Gambit" that Jack Abramoff and his team helped guide the approximately $100 million in Microsoft's legislatively-connected expenditures between 1995-2000. (To find the article, search via the title for the PDF version of the article.) Microsoft helped to procure three employer-friendly changes in the controversial H-1B Visa legislation.

To me, this is corruption, pure and simple as "things of value" were supplied in exchange for "official acts." I believe that this illegal and unethical conduct should stop.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2011 | 4:58:29 PM
re: Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers
The problem with the h1b is that the country loses more jobs than it creates. The h1bs are used as offshorers. They get trained and with email and instant message and online meetings, train their counterparts in an offshore location. The original American software developer is slowly eliminated. The solution to this is simple. Do not allow companies that have offshore facilities to use the h1b or the L1. This is simple and makes sense and will bring high-tech jobs back. The h1b visa does create jobs because they pay taxes, buy hoses and cars and consume here. If they cannot offshore jobs it would be a net positive. What is so difficult about adding legislation that says a company that off shores cannot use h1bs? That way the US can get the H1Bs without the net loss in jobs. Companies can still benefit from the h1b.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2011 | 8:57:35 AM
re: Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers
New study? Smoke and mirrors is more like it. Enough is enough. Give the American workers in your own country a break. The problem is not a lack of qualified workers, it is a lack of jobs. Please don't give away more of our jobs. I think most Americans would agree that it is time to help our own citizens get back to work. This kind of legislation is killing us.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/15/2011 | 11:28:56 PM
re: Congressman Wants More Green Cards For Tech Workers
Seriously Congressman????

Do you have ANY idea as to how many IT workers there are that are unemployed with ADVANCED degrees? I personally know SEVERAL and you want to allow foreigners that obtain those same advanced degrees a green card? How about instead of granting them green cards and removing AMERICAN workers (or off-shoring those jobs to alleged advanced degree Indians --- YES I said ALLEGED because their advanced degrees do not add up to a Bachelors and a good percentage FAKE their credentials) you back (or author) a bill that PENALIZE those companies that are insistent on off-shoring.

I await your retort.
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