Washington: Refuting the allegations of U.S. lawmakers and certain quarters here that H-1B visas take away jobs from Americans, NASDAQ's chief has claimed that studies show that for every H-1B visa, technology companies increase employment by five workers.
"Let me take the job stealing issue head-on,"NASDAQ CEORobert Griefeld told Senators at a Congressional hearing on immigration reform early this week.
"Opponents of enhanced legal immigration argue that when a foreign-born, highly skilled immigrant gets a job, American graduates are the losers," he said.
"But my research and experience tell me quite a different story. For example, the National Federation for American Policy says that for every H-1B worker requested, US technology companies increase their overall employment by five workers," Griefeld said.
The NASDAQ CEO argued there was a case to enact a more flexible and stable regime for legal immigration.
"Reform must convey economic priorities about job growth and global competitiveness. Increasing H-1B visas is simply not enough. We need to admit and keep entrepreneurs here so that the creative dynamic of our economy is enhanced by the very best skills and minds," he said.
"Whether in Silicon Valley, Austin, Chicago, or anywhere else in theUnited States, I hear from CEOs that theH-1B visa system is inadequate for today's human capital marketplace and the backlog for green cards and what they mean to the quality and the uncertainty of the lives of these foreign-born employees is a legitimate threat to their businesses," he said.
"Many companies can, if needed, locate people inCanada, Europe,India or any country that wants those jobs and the benefits they bring," he said.
Puneet Arora, the Vice-President of Immigration Voice, told lawmakers that frustration with the US immigration system sent Wharton graduate Kunal Bahl back home in 2007 where he went and foundedSnapDeal.com.
This is a rapidly growing company with over $20 million in annual revenue, over 400 workers and growing at the rate of 70 workers a month.
This, India's equivalent of Groupon, has major US venture capitalists likeVinod Dham, the father of theIntel chip, investing significantly in it.
"Reports from India andChina suggest that this is not an isolated example. This is a growing trend. We often hear concerns that foreign-born workers are taking jobs and stalling the economic recovery," Arora said.
Ronil Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Rochester Institute of Technology said to meet the needs of both the US economy and American workers, the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes need immediate and substantial overhaul.
"The goal of these programmes is to bring in foreign workers who complement the American workforce. Instead, loopholes have made it too easy to bring in cheaper foreign workers, with ordinary skills -- these are not specialised skills, these are not the best and brightest, these are ordinary skills -- who directly substitute for, rather than complement, American workers," he noted.
"The programmes are clearly displacing and denying opportunities to American workers. The H-1B and L-1 programmes have serious design flaws and legislation is needed to fix them. Administrative changes alone such as stepped up enforcement, while necessary, are simply not sufficient to correct the problems," Hira said.