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Toward a Wiser, More Equitable Policy on Visas for the Professional High Tech Workforce Proposal by the Programmers Guild to Representative Zoe Lofgren.

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Presentation on theme: "Toward a Wiser, More Equitable Policy on Visas for the Professional High Tech Workforce Proposal by the Programmers Guild to Representative Zoe Lofgren."— Presentation transcript:

1 Toward a Wiser, More Equitable Policy on Visas for the Professional High Tech Workforce Proposal by the Programmers Guild to Representative Zoe Lofgren

2 About the Programmers Guild Founded in 1998 The Programmers Guild promotes the interest of high tech workers in the USA Endorse candidates that are supportive of our goals Educate constituents of our local districts as to the effects of government programs that impact them financially See our site at for more information

3 Contacts Terry Oldberg (650) Kris Moe (408) Claude Clark (408) Norm Matloff

4 Background U.S. Code generally restricts the ability of employers to import non-immigrant workers from abroad Since 1998, employers have lobbied successfully for relaxation of these restrictions in relation to computer professionals

5 The market for professional labor has been inundated with non- immigrant visa holders

6 The saturation of foreign high tech workers has negatively impacted the domestic high tech work force

7 Professional Visas from 1986 to 2002 *“Professional Visa” : an L-1, H-1B or TN visa Sources Visas: Nelson, G., Degrees: National Science Foundation

8 Cumulative, Professional Visas vs. High Tech Jobs (millions) Sources Visas: Nelson, G., Jobs: American Electronics Association

9 One out of five jobs in Santa Clara county has been lost since 2000 Source: San Jose Mercury News Posted on Sat, Mar. 01, 2003 Valley of the grim 191,500: JOBS LOST IN COUNTY SINCE HEIGHT OF THE BOOM, OR 1 IN 5 By Margaret Steen Mercury News Updated state figures released Friday show just how devastating the downturn has been in Silicon Valley: Nearly one in five jobs in Santa Clara County has vanished since the height of the boom in December The data also confirms what job-seekers have felt for months: The county's unemployment rate last year was worse than previously estimated, in some months almost a full percentage point higher. The revised rate was more than 8 percent for nearly all of In January, unemployment was 8.6 percent.

10 Jobs for Programmers Dropped 21% in Metropolitan San Jose between 2000 and 2001

11 While the Government Handed Out Hundreds of Thousands of H-1B visas Sources Number of visas from Nelson, G., Proportion of visas to programmers from INShttp://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B/VisaGlut.PDF

12 Economic Effects of the H-1B, L1 and TN visa programs Unemployed or under employed domestic workforce Lower average wages for professionals in the impacted industry Lost tax revenue for Federal, State and local agencies Financial ruin for many domestic workers and their families

13 Employers’ Arguments for Vast Numbers of Visas “Desperate shortage” Needed access to geniuses

14 Inconsistencies with “Shortage” Young, computer industry engineers make no more than young non-computer industry engineers (1998, UC Berkeley study) Old, computer industry engineers make less than old non-computer industry engineers (1998, UC Berkeley study)

15 Inconsistencies with “Shortage” (continued) Firms hire only a few percent of applicants for programming jobs (Matloff, “Debunking the Myth…” Less than 50% of computer science majors find professional-level jobs at graduation (Matloff, “Debunking the Myth…” 20 years after graduation, 81% of computer science majors have dropped out of their profession (Matloff, “Debunking the Myth…”

16 Inconsistency with “Genius” Number of graduate degrees in Computer Science awarded to foreign nationals: 3000 per year Cap on new, H-1B visas for industry: 195,000 per year Cap on H-1B visas for academia: none Cap on L-1 visas: none Cap on TN visas: none

17 Current Law Rejected by Citizens In 1998, 82 percent of a sample of adults opposed a bill "allowing U.S. companies to sponsor 190,000 additional foreign technical workers, as temporary employees for up to six years." 16 percent were in favor, while 2 percent were unsure. (Harris Poll)

18 Current Law Rejected by Citizens (continued) In 2000, 67% of a sample of residents of Southeastern Michigan opposed a bill to increase the cap on H-1B visas by 297,500 over the next 3 years. 22% supported the legislation and 11% had no opinion (Sarpolus poll)

19 Principles underlying a wiser, more equitable policy on visas for programmers Visa programs should not negatively impact the finances of the domestic workforce Equal treatment of domestic workforce and visa holders

20 Principles (continued) Ability of high tech companies to hire true geniuses Maximization of the economic benefits, given the constraints

21 Proposed Law Visas for programmers shall be replaced by licenses to employ foreign programmers The government shall sell the licenses at auction to the highest bidders The licenses may be traded among employers at prices set by a free market Eliminate exemption for educational institutions

22 Proposal The Programmers Guild shall assist Representative Lofgren’s staff in drafting a law along the lines presented Representative Lofgren shall propose passage of this law to the U.S. House of Representatives


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