Silicon Valley Scrambling to Import More Foreign High-Tech Workers

Silicon Valley Scrambling to Import More Foreign High-Tech Workers

In addition to going all-in for amnesty legislation in Congress, Silicon Valley companies are getting more creative in their efforts to import more foreign workers.

The Financial Times noted that in “booming” Silicon Valley, “engineers are in high demand but short supply,” and companies “are facing the most competitive rush ever to secure US work visas for their foreign hires.”

Studies have concluded, though, that reports of a shortage of high-tech workers in America is a myth. One reason why companies may want to import more foreign workers is that the cost of American labor is getting more expensive in the high-tech fields, as the Financial Times noted. As the Congressional Budget Office determined, provisions in the Senate’s amnesty legislation would lower the wages of American workers. 

Silicon Valley companies covet the provision in the Senate’s immigration bill, for instance, that would eventually increase the number of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 180,000 a year, nearly tripling the number of visas that are awarded. In addition, foreigners who get advanced degrees in science, math, and engineering fields will also be allowed to permanently stay in the United States if they have job offers. 

If immigration reform legislation gets defeated, companies are reportedly working on contingency plans to open new offices “abroad in order to hire people and then bring them into the US on a type of visa allocated to existing employees for internal transfers.” High-tech companies in search of more foreign labor are essentially saying, “Let’s use the immigration laws to come up with an overall strategy to bring teams of people on board.”

Lobbying groups like FWD.US, which was started by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and an array of other high-tech interests, have spent millions to push for amnesty legislation in Congress.