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Silicon Valley Presses Obama, Congress On Immigration Reform 221

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 'Because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many high-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas,' the letter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 jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:14AM (#43190157)

    "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."

    We should improve the education system and encourage our fine American youth to make use of it rather than importing immigrants from abroad. Why is the knee jerk reaction from these greedy corporate bastards always to import talent or export jobs rather than fix the what's wrong at home?

    Because training workers from scratch to do the job costs MONEY. Rumor has it, way the hell back when, Steve Jobs hired people with zero coding experience who had the 'proper hacker mindset' and taught them inhouse, then worked them 80+ hours a week cranking out Apple II software. Reputedly, it took a couple years for Apple to recoup their investment on training them.

    Quickest way to destroy a country? Keep the people ignorant and uneducated. Implement programs like 'No Child Left Behind' designed to reward the underachievers and make everybody 'feel better about themselves' rather than teach them the skills they need to survive in today's society. Defund education to the point where nobody learns anything anyway, and jack up the cost of college to the point where only the richest 5% can afford it, even though most colleges in the US these days tend to be run as 'profit centers' rather than as institutes of learning. Politicize the few remaining 'real' universities to the point where students either obey the Party Line or get kicked off campus and handed a bill for their 'education'. Rig the student loan system so that borrowing to finance an education incurs a lifelong debt to be paid,

    Trade schools? Why bother with those when the people learning those trades will be replaced by robots in a few years anyway? I did a stint of a couple years learning 'high tech electronics that would employ me for a lifetime' back in the 70's. The 'career ' I trained for was obsolete in 10 years. NOBODY repairs tvs anymore, they toss them and buy a new one. You can't repair one anyway, you can't find the ICs on the open market for less than the cost of a new set.

  • Re:ageism (Score:5, Informative)

    by novium ( 1680776 ) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @09:48AM (#43190315)

    Except study after study has shown that a 60 work week produces about as much as a 40 hour work week. Productivity goes through the floor the longer the hours get. So there's nothing to gain. (With the exception of one-time, short-term periods of longer hours, but it's not sustainable after a week or two).

  • Look. I work in a major US tech company and am involved with hiring from a technical level, and I can tell you first hand that the quantity of quality people in North America IS lacking. Out of all of the employees you hire, maybe 1 of the 10 is the rockstar you need for your project... the rest are OK, sure, but when you are working under tight timelines and need creative solutions on a global stage, you don't need a bunch of churned-out code monkeys, you NEED those rock stars.

    This is NOT about cheap labor. Do you think it is cheap to pay a lawyer to handle the visa process (about 10K minimum), to handle the annual renewal (about 5K minimum), to pay global relocation expenses (another 10K)? On top of this, the wages and benefits we're talking about here in Silicon Valley are some of the highest in the country. We're not bringing people over from India and paying them 40K / year to work on Facebook - it is just not happening, it is a myth.

    There are two problems we have here
    - We are not getting enough kids into STEM at an early age. Only kids who are really into STEM in middle and high school are the ones who go onto be the rock stars this country needs to compete. Someone who goes to university just to get a job in CS that pays well on graduation, and does not have a PASSION for technology, is not going to be this rock star.

    - The US, like most countries in the OECD, has a declining birth rate. The US is one of the only remaining countries in the first world that still has replacement population birth levels, but very soon (maybe end of 2014), it won't anymore. Combine declining birth rates with accelerating boomers retiring and you have a very poor economic picture. WE NEED more skilled immigrants just to maintain the economy. Otherwise, you are going to have a very very scary picture developing in the next couple of decades.

  • Re:At the same time (Score:3, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:22PM (#43191169) Homepage

    Importing the same mediocre talent from India is not going to solve the problem. If the supply of talent in the US is crap, then you need to encourage the development of talent and stop broadcasting to the world that you want to treat us all like sh*t.

  • Re:At the same time (Score:5, Informative)

    by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @12:40PM (#43191243)

    Sounds like tech companies should spread themselves out a little. If Silicon Valley needs piles of specialists, it needs people who are willing to move from anywhere - same country or different, visa or not.

    Hiring specialists in the non-Valley would be a lot cheaper, you would find talent easier, and everyone would be happy. Let me summarize the business plan of a Silicon Valley company:

    1) Mine the area talent as thoroughly as possible
    2) Keep mining the same source
    3) Repeat until Congress lets you hire barely qualified people from another country.

    I can see a giant shift coming where the Valley is where the HQ sits, but you have projects centered in other large cities, which are largely autonomous. It doesn't work for smaller companies, but if the larger ones realized they are resource-starving their own ecosystem, it would come close to balancing out. Someday they will have to.

    I have no family, and no reason not to fly out to the Valley and work for piles of money. I just do not want to be part of that culture 24 hours a day, at work and away. I would be fine with telecommuting, but as Yahoo found out it is easy to abuse that if not kept in check. And a just-barely-big-enough company doesn't want to split itself.

    So it's not about talent - it's about willingness to relocate. And by concentrating in the same place, the industry giants are starving themselves while claiming location is a vital benefit they don't want to lose.

    Make up your mind what's important - people or location - and stick with it. Tough choice, but at least let's frame this as a resource issue caused by choice of location. Then we can talk honestly about it and find a solution.

    "Not enough talent" is an outright lie - one of omission. "Not enough talent willing to relocate" is the problem, and H1-B is seen as the solution. How long do you expect to be able to import resources before you give up and re-locate?

  • Re:At the same time (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday March 16, 2013 @01:04PM (#43191451)

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

    According to a recent study mentioned in Mother Jones [] and elsewhere [], H-1B workers are not even close to the "best and brightest" as these companies claim. In fact they probably don't hold up to American workers. All they are is cheap.

Don't be irreplaceable, if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.