The group, called FWD.us, (pronounced Forward US), is backed by other Silicon Valley leaders including Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer and Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of Linkedin.
“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world, To lead the world in this new economy, we need the most talented and hardest-working people. We need to train and attract the best. We need those middle-school students to be tomorrow’s leaders Given all this, why do we kick out the more than 40% of math and science graduate students who are not US citizens after educating them?” Zuckerberg said
FWD.us would push for:
● Comprehensive immigration reform that begins with effective border security, allows a path to citizenship and lets us attract the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born.
● Higher standards and accountability in schools, support for good teachers and a much greater focus on learning about science, technology, engineering and math.
● Investment in breakthrough discoveries in scientific research and assurance that the benefits of the inventions belong to the public and not just to the few.
This year demand for skilled-worker visas, known as H-1Bs, outstripped the entire year’s supply in the first week that companies were allowed to file applications.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes applications, said earlier this month that it had already received more than 65,000 H-1B applications, the congressionally mandated limit. Application for the 20,000 visas allocated to foreign nationals with advanced degrees from US universities also exceeded supply in a few days.
Daniel Costa, immigration policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, said reform was needed but granting more H-1B visas as they stand was not the answer. A recent EPI study found all the top 10 firms applying for H-1B visas were outsourcing firms. Costa pointed to a 2011 study by the Government Accountability Office that showed most of the visa go to workers hired for mid-level information technology positions such as systems analysts or programmers who are then paid less than their US counterparts.
“Demand for visas may well not be because their is a need for skilled labour but rather because their is a demand for workers who can be underpaid,” said Costa. He said the GAO study showed 54% of those on H-1Bs were paid at the lowest levels allowed and that the majority of the workers were sent back after their visas expired.
“This is not a bridge to bringing in the best and the brightest. These people are brought in, they learn the job then they are rotated back to India to carry on doing the job there,” he said.
Last month Senator Chuck Grassley reintroduced a bill aimed at tightening restrictions on the H-1B visa program.
“Somewhere along the line, the H-1B program got sidetracked. The program was never meant to replace qualified American workers, but it was instead intended as a means to fill gaps in highly specialized areas of employment,” Grassley said.
“When times are tough, like they are now, it’s especially important that Americans get every consideration before an employer looks to hire from abroad.”
Source: The Guardian