Tuesday, March 20, 2007

H-1B Pittsburgh

The Wall Street Journal recently explored the issue of expanding the H-1B visa program at the behest of hi-tech companies such as Microsoft. Why would anyone be against attracting talent from other countries? The argument is that the immigrants will not stay, but instead take their intellectual capital back home:

As Business Week pointed out in an article last month, the employers using the overwhelming number of H-1Bs are offshore outsourcing firms. These firms' whole reason for being is to ship work overseas, not to use the H-1B program as a bridge to immigration. They shuttle foreign workers into the U.S. to get trained so that they can then take that work back home.

We've come a long from worrying about brain drain from developing countries. This alarm indicates, to me at least, that intellectual capital is beginning to seek frontier market opportunities. International brain circulation is a very real phenomenon, but that's no reason to discourage mobility.

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