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Silicon Valley Presses Obama, Congress On Immigration Reform 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the 9/10-corporations-agree dept.
walterbyrd sends this excerpt from the LA Times: "In a rare show of unity, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer were among a coalition of high-profile executives and venture capitalists to send a letter on Thursday to President Obama and congressional leaders pressing for a fix to restrictive immigration laws by year's end. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors and executives are also planning a virtual "march" on Washington in April. 'Because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas,' the letter says. 'Some do not bother to come in the first place.'" The letter also offers these suggestions: "We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards. In addition, spouses and children should not be counted against the cap of high-skilled immigrant visas. There should not be a marriage or family penalty."
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Silicon Valley Presses Obama, Congress On Immigration Reform

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:29AM (#43189933)

    IT workers not realizing they control the means of production

  • At the same time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maroberts (15852) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:40AM (#43189977) Homepage Journal

    ...the US has a problem with high levels of employment.

    Why can't these firms set up educational establishments to train US citizens to the skill levels they need? Or have apprenticeships? Or....

    Actually I think it seems a cynical way to keep labour costs down, so perhaps companies ought to be allowed to hire from overseas providing they demonstrate they're paying that worker 25% more than a US citizen would earn in the same role.

    I'm not a US citizen, but I think this, like offshoring is a way of trying to force labour costs down. Paradoxically I think you want labour costs up, as increasing the affluence of the lower/middle classes creates a larger market for your goods.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @08:54AM (#43190057)

    The immigrant is taking opportunities from educated Americans

    Nonsense. This is like those idiots who say things like, "You stole my job!" No, he/she didn't; you didn't have the job to begin with, or someone in charge willingly decided to give your job to someone else. Whatever the case, you're not entitled to a job.

    These people also aren't entitled to come to my country.

  • Re:ageism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:12AM (#43190147)

    If people over 40 could put in the 60+ hour weeks needed to for US firms to stay competitive in the global market

    If US companies *need* to force techies to put in the 60+ hour weeks to stay competitive, perhaps they're doing something wrong.

  • Re:ageism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:24AM (#43190219)

    If they didn't refuse to hire anyone over 40, they wouldn't have a problem...

    Why should they hire anyone above 40? How many 40 plus athletes are there? How many hostesses or security guards/soldiers you know above 40? IT is just another industry and there is no reason why companies should not prefer younger cheaper employees. Perhaps you should look at jobs where experience _really_ matters, e.g., Medicine, Aviation, Academics etc.

    Considering the crap quality of so much of today's software, maybe a little experience would be a good idea.

  • by fruitbane (454488) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:35AM (#43190267) Homepage

    Trying to fight globalization on the whole is ineffective, but fighting the demand for more H1B visas with factual data isn't. Recent studies show that companies have been lying about their inability to find domestic talent AND about how much they pay their H1B visa employees. The long and short of it is, the experts exist within the US but the companies want to save money on H1B visas, so they lie to congress, all the while, claiming we need more tech-savvy Americans. When we produce the appropriately educated Americans, the companies won't hire them because they are too expensive compared to their H1B shortcut. All this fight is doing is creating over-educated Americans who will have lots of education debt and no jobs.

  • by nukenerd (172703) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:10AM (#43190441)
    Loufoque wrote :-

    Of course you need to search all over the world if you only want highly skilled people.

    What bollocks.

    I know highly skilled and qualified people (in the UK this is) who are cleaning offices for a living, while the politicians and businessmen are believing that such people can only be found abroad. In fact some of those office cleaners DID come from abroad under the delusion that they could get good jobs here and they are STILL overlooked by employers.

    When did the bosses acquire this obsessive delusion that someone coming from abroad must be a superior worker to a home-grown one? Not in my experience anyway. How ironic it is that our UK universities are half-filled with overseas students - because UK teaching is held in high regard world-wide - and yet the bosses believe that people educated abroad must be better.

    It is racial discrimination, although of the opposite sense to what is always assumed, but they get away with it.

  • Not true (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:20AM (#43190487)
    for a small sliver of the population. That's why these immigration programs are so great for companies. There's a small group of people that are fully productive working 60 hours a week. Thanks to the H1B program you're competing head on with all of them at once.

    I tell ya, what we IT people need is a Super Pac. If everyone that touched a computer got together and pitched in $5 bucks a month in we'd at least be able to buy some House reps, maybe even a senator. If that's how the game works, I say we start playing.
  • Re:Marissa Mayer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:31AM (#43190541)

    I read somewhere that Mayer's salary package for Yahoo works out at $117 million over her five year contract. Now, if saving money is important, and companies aim to get skills from anywhere in the world, then why don't they get rid of Mayer and hire an Indian or Chinese CEO? Pay them, say, $5 mil a year. There would be hundreds of possible candidates willing to work like dogs for that sort of money.

    But this never happens for the upper echelon of management. CEOs (wherever they're from) are paid the same ridiculous sums, even if they tank the company in the process (can Yahoo afford to dish out $117 million to one person? Don't think so).

    So essentially the Zucks, Mayers and other bosses make sure their sky-high pay packets are protected. Yet if they really believed in the 'free market' they'd be happy to see their job go to someone paid less. Of course they'll tell us that their skills are irreplaceable and therefore they deserve that sort of money. Then in the next breath they'll say they can't get certain skilled engineers so therefore... they need to buy in cheap ones from abroad implying the skilled engineers are replaceable cogs in their cash-making behemoth.

    Sure there's issues with education in most countries, but put yourself in the position of a teenager thinking of going into this sort of business. They know if they go to MIT or Stanford they'll be okay. However if they graduate from a normal college they'll either be working for peanuts, replaced by an immigrant or worked much harder than their peers in similar professional roles for less money. Meanwhile respect for their job will be pretty low, management will see them as mere 'code monkeys' & the popular culture is likely to portray them as comedy geeks. Being a 'rock star' in the computer world is about as easy and likely as being an actual rock star. Is it any wonder so many of the youngsters don't give a shit?

  • On No Child (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:32AM (#43190547)
    it's not designed to reward underachievers. It pulls funding from failing schools for God's sakes (you lose funding if you're kids don't pass the tests). It's goal is pretty obvious: gut the school system so education can be privatized for profit.

    There was just a really nice article on why the US Healthcare system is so bleeding expensive and the conclusion of an extensive multi-year study was: because it can be. My buddy drove a school bus until they privatized that and cut his wages. Did the district save money? Nope, not after 3 years. They're just so short on cash they wanted to sell their bus fleet so they could operate another year, and hope the voters would take a 1% tax raise to pay for schools (they didn't). Now the company that has the contract is jacking up prices because they know the district can't afford to buy back their fleet and make it public again.

    But yeah, it's a nice side effect that it makes a weak, dumb populace.
  • Re:ageism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @10:54AM (#43190689)

    Why should they hire anyone above 40? How many 40 plus athletes are there?

    Why should people over 60 teach at universities? Hire people under 30 for professor positions! Oh, wait, it's a different field, this is about brains, whereas programmers are about muscles and beauty, that's why you mentioned athletes and hostesses, right? I mean, if your argument were stupid, I'm sure you wouldn't be mentioning it...or not?

  • by theodp (442580) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @11:28AM (#43190901)

    Whichever side of the issue you stand on, it's worth noting that arguably the most prominent signatories to this letter and/or the companies they represent - Intel and Google - came under fire for allegedly secretly conspiring together to block worker mobility ("The no-hire paper trail Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt didn't want you to see [theverge.com]"), so a cynic might suggest perhaps they're not quite as concerned with labor's free-and-natural-flow when it doesn't suit their needs. Also, Ireland seems to be finding that importing tech labor isn't quite the rising-tide-that-lifts-all-boats that it was cracked up to be ("Ireland too scared to tax big tech, Let the poor eat potatos") [techeye.net], "Google paid only £5.6m tax despite £10bn turnover"). [independent.ie]

  • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:46PM (#43191287)

    ... It's no joke that tech companies have a problem finding people regardless of salary.

    What a load of crap. I don't believe you. If you offer enough, people will jump ship to get it. You're obviously cheaping out, so of course you can't draw them out. Try shaving a hundred Gs off your CEO's multi-million dollar salary and spread that around among your line troop positions. That'll fix your HR problem overnight.

    It astonishes me that greedy, thick headed morons like you are what we have to work for.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:57PM (#43191389)
    When did the bosses acquire this obsessive delusion that someone coming from abroad must be a superior worker to a home-grown one?

    It's not complicated. The workers are here on visas. They can be sent back on a whim. This gives the employer enormous leverage to make the H1B employee work harder. Also it lets them bring in a lot of extra workers, increasing supply and lowering demand. That drives down wages by $10k - $20k (USD, convert to your own currency)
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @05:10PM (#43192929)

    So now you've got a choice. Ship cheaper workers in (the lesser evil), or ship jobs overseas, and never punish corporations for doing so. Happy unregulated market. Is there nothing you can't do? Of course, you voted for it in your 20s, when you weren't going to be the person with obsolete skills that got laid off, before you had a spouse and kids. Before you got sick and got the hospital bill that bankrupted you. Before you were conned into buying an overpriced house because you actually were stupid enough to believe the value would keep going up, forever. Before you decided that the benevolent Wall Street geniuses would make stock markets go up forever, and never down. Before you were bought the oil company line that gasoline would always be cheap and plentiful. Before you realized that companies wrote contracts that allowed them to change the terms of your retirement health care at will. Before if finally soaked in that laws are purchased for corporations, not voted in for the benefit of the citizenry. Before it dawned on you, finally, that you might not be the big winner in the casino of capitalism.

    You, who voted for Reagan. For Bush, and Bush again. You voted for it. You got it.

    So, enjoy the increasingly unregulated, conservative, free market capitalism you ranted about in your 20s as it comes back to bite you ever so slowly and painfully in the ass.

    I will now sit back and wait for the legions of morons who will tell me this is all the fault of over-regulation, liberals, muslims, taxes and evil spirits. We've all heard it all before. Have at it.

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