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For Every H-1B Visa, US Technology Companies Hire 5 Workers: NASDAQ

29 Jul 2011


Refuting the allegations of US lawmakers and certain quarters here that H-1B visas take away jobs from Americans, NASDAQ's chief has claimed that studies show that for every H-1B visa, technology companies increase employment by five workers.

"Let me take the job stealing issue head-on," NASDAQ CEO Robert Griefeld told Senators at a Congressional hearing on immigration reform early this week.

"Opponents of enhanced legal immigration argue that when a foreign-born, highly skilled immigrant gets a job, American graduates are the losers," he said.

"But my research and experience tell me quite a different story. For example, the National Federation for American Policy says that for every H-1B worker requested, US technology companies increase their overall employment by five workers," Griefeld said.

The NASDAQ CEO argued there was a case to enact a more flexible and stable regime for legal immigration.

"Reform must convey economic priorities about job growth and global competitiveness. Increasing H-1B visas is simply not enough. We need to admit and keep entrepreneurs here so that the creative dynamic of our economy is enhanced by the very best skills and minds," he said.

"Whether in Silicon Valley, Austin, Chicago, or anywhere else in the United States, I hear from CEOs that the H-1B visa system is inadequate for today's human capital marketplace and the backlog for green cards and what they mean to the quality and the uncertainty of the lives of these foreign-born employees is a legitimate threat to their businesses," he said.

"Many companies can, if needed, locate people in Canada, Europe, India or any country that wants those jobs and the benefits they bring," he said.

As per an associate professor of a US university, to meet the needs of both the US economy and American workers, the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes need immediate and substantial overhaul.

"The goal of these programmes is to bring in foreign workers who complement the American workforce. Instead, loopholes have made it too easy to bring in cheaper foreign workers, with ordinary skills -- these are not specialised skills, these are not the best and brightest, these are ordinary skills -- who directly substitute for, rather than complement, American workers. The programmes are clearly displacing and denying opportunities to American workers. The H-1B and L-1 programmes have serious design flaws and legislation is needed to fix them. Administrative changes alone such as stepped up enforcement, while necessary, are simply not sufficient to correct the problems." he noted.


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