IT Employment

U.S. House to discuss high-skilled immigration reform

Today the U.S. House of Representatives is holding a hearing to discuss support for high-skilled immigration reform and a series of new bills that would increase the supply of STEM visas.

Today the U.S. House of Representatives is holding a hearing to discuss support for high-skilled immigration reform and a series of new bills that would increase the supply of STEM visas. (STEM is an acronym for the fields of study in the categories of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.)

The bills that will be discussed are the:

Startup Act 3.0 (its central components seek to attract and retain entrepreneurial talent, attract capital investments in startups, and spark increased innovation through the commercialization of taxpayer-funded university research). StartUp Visa Act of 2013 (To qualify for this visa, prospective immigrant entrepreneurs must have financial backing and must implement commercial activities that will generate employment, revenue, or capital investment. A 2013 report estimates that a Startup Visa for immigrant entrepreneurs could generate anywhere from 500,000 to 1.6 million jobs  over the next ten years, representing 0.5 to 1.6 percent of GDP, or roughly $70 billion to $224 billion in economic gain.) Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 (its purpose is to "amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize additional visas for well-educated aliens to live and work in the United States, and for other purposes.")

These bills reflect a growing, bipartisan consensus on the need for the U.S.  to efficiently attract and retain the best and brightest entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

9 comments
LalaReads
LalaReads

... was 'I thought the US was the innovation capital of the world?!?!' We were, right? What has happened to us that we need to go to such lengths to attract foreign talent to fix the economy? I don't think I'm saying anything new here, just sharing my basic dumbfounded reaction. I wonder how many others had this thought as an initial response. Aside from the obvious human rights issues, the robber barons of the last century did get a lot of things right. They had drive, vision and the guts to move forward. Then came the rise of the corporations, insulating the heads from direct risk, but also diluting their authority as boards of directors et al rose in power. Plus the bean counters. Now it seems like consensus rules the day and very few have the cajones to try even the well-researched risks. To those who see this as off topic, please consider how this change in organizational structure has impacted us. It seems there is very little personal accountability for failures, but very few true visionaries either. Regulations are necessary to hold those in power accountable, but the trend to make everyone follow the exact same rule book and rely so heavily on consensus has stifled creativity. And creativity is apparently what the US lacks, and what these reforms are supposed to address. I guess that's why we need this then? To bring in talent unspoiled by the current US culture and save us from ourselves? I just don't get it. I mean, I get it but I don't get it. Isn't all this in our history books? Didn't we all learn that 'those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it'? The last banking crisis was just a different flavor of the S&L banking crisis in the late 80s and 90s, but much larger in scale. Companies too large to fail? They may not be monopolies by strict definition, but why were they allowed to get this big in the first place? Is the concern about monopolies solely about competition? I thought it was also about protecting the economy as a whole? Again, nothing new here - just confusion and tinged with a bit of sadness...

jschmidt27
jschmidt27

After now having been a consultant for 6 years in QC after 27 years at one financial exchange, I find a lot of foreign consultants working who really know their stuff. But these consultants are working for much less than a US workers and aren't concerned with 401ks or benefits. I can see a place for both but companies will pay as little as they have to and the US workers will suffer as a result. Yes the work can stay in the US but at what cost to the US worker.

danhrub
danhrub

So is this an attempt to bring the best talent from around the world to try and bring innovation and manufacturing back to the United States or just a another way for illegal aliens to open more Gas Stations and Convient Stores and get on the Welfare Train?

chanagan
chanagan

Actually, pretty much the perfect business plan. Dumb down the US education system (see Texas, etc.) to the point where our population can't tell when it's voting against its own interests. With that approach, though,that population won't sustain the requirement for a highly educated work force. Increasing the supply of highly trained immigrants has multiple benefits: business can keep the work here in US, the highly skilled labor force can be paid less, and you don't have to worry about them voting to improve their conditions. Pretty sweet deal.

brian.minerly1
brian.minerly1

When you hear "shortage of skilled workers", you never hear the economic solution of allowing increased demand driving up price, thereby motivating an increase in supply. "Free-market" solutions are never allowed to cut into corporate profits.

mdbizzarri
mdbizzarri

Since my job has been outsource in the past, I think that by letting companies bring in foreign nationals to do jobs that can be done by people already in the US should be banned. How is it good for the US to have people from the outside of the US, come, learn the US way of doing things, and then taking that back to what ever country they come from? On top of that, people that can, and have done the job could have benefitted, and will likely to be with the company far longer. Is the price difference that much between the 2 people? Is the quality of work as good? Is the level of communication and teamwork as good with the person from abroad? Can they get the job done as quickly? In my experience, outsourcing, while it may be cheaper, takes longer, quality of work is not up to par, and only makes sense to the decion makers on the front end, but I really don't think that in the long run, is the best decision for the US based company. I would love to see a company put a US team against an outsourced team or two, and see which team can make the software faster, better, under budget, .... I think that businesses have bought into the hype, but I don't think anyone as really ever tested it out to see if you really do save money.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

The proposed [b]Immigration Innovation Act of 2013[/b]? For every visa issued there is a series of charges on the foreign national which go towards STEM education in America. I don't see how that translates into "dumbing" down our children...

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

but I'm not certain you can make the leap that outsourcing translates to poor quality. The one thing that is pretty well defined is that foreign worker salaries and benefits are substantially less than domestic workers. And that is a tangible major cost on any quarterly report, hence easy to fixate on short term. American business has been doing that for 200 years... One thing that really bothers me (and you nailed it wrt taking stuff back to their country) is that foreign technology workers create software and hardware that is utilized in infrastructure critical to our national defense.