H1-B Restriction: Silicon Valley to be Hurt

Date:   Tuesday , September 01, 2009

Several bright minds outside America fly to the U.S. seeking better opportunities in places like Silicon Valley, which is referred as the entrepreneursí Mecca. However, with the hue and cry surrounding the H-1B visas the flow of immigrants into the US may get affected, which may diminish the tech prowess of the most technologically advanced nation in the world in the long run.

There was at least one immigrant founder in 25 percent of tech companies established in the US between 1995 and 2005, reveals a study by the Duke University and the University of California. These entities generated over $52 billion sales, while creating over 450,000 jobs in 2005.

The US administration under George W Bush pushed for immigration reforms, which failed to take shape. Now Barack Obama is in the White House; are these reforms on his priority list? Recently, Obama assured pro-immigrant activists that the reforms would not lose its importance to the healthcare and energy legislations.

However, Senators Richard Durbin and Charles Grassley have sponsored a bill to stop the alleged abuse of H-1B visas. They have introduced a legislation to restrict the number of H1-B visas issued. These visas are popular among major technology companies that bring some of the brightest minds to the US.

The current situation can make the US less attractive to immigrants, who may eventually contribute to the countryís growth. Take the examples of Vikram Pandit, Indra Nooyi, or Sanjay Jha who came to the US and are now heading some of the largest companies on the planet.

Commentators like CNNís Lou Dobbs have highlighted a huge reverse brain drain from the US, which has been his dream, to be closer to reality. Immigrants that have received their education and work experience in the US, are packing their bags to go back to their homelands. In addition, for the first time in five years there is also a decline in the number of foreign students seeking admissions in the US universities.