Saturday, June 21, 2008

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

An article about the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) caught my eye because of the organization's support of an increase in the cap for H-1B visas. The SVLG website articulates the framework informing the policy position:

We support a thoughtful approach to immigration reform that assures the talent we develop here can stay here. We also support strengthening and expanding the H-1B and EB visa program so that highly skilled workers can participate in our economy, regardless of their nation of origin. In recent years, policy changes have led to the unintended consequence that some foreign-born students training at our universities are not able to stay here when they graduate. At the same time, India and China are rapidly expanding their capacity to produce engineers and other sought-after professionals. We encourage Congress to consider our ability to attract and retain talent here in the U.S. as an important component of any immigration policy adopted.

This broad mandate provides a less cynical perspective on the intentions of tech companies seeking a cap increase. I would expect the SVLG to support fast track Green Cards as a viable strategy to "attract and retain talent here in the U.S." The stated desire to expand the EB visa program diminishes the validity of the typical charge that Big Tech is seeking to depress wages via demanded immigration reform (i.e. higher cap for the H-1B visa program).

However, I doubt that the above will quiet the din about the H-1B visa scam. Underlying many of the charges is xenophobia. The fight for better economic immigration policies will be a hard sell, especially if the economy continues to stumble along.

No comments: