Kimberly Ellis, SVP Communications and Marketing
Data Provides Direction, Dogma Provides Division
Earlier today, President Trump signed an executive order on H-1B visas with the stated purpose of reining in perceived abuses of the program through greater restrictions and reviews. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, our 400 member companies are wary of increased restrictions when what is needed is greater access to a pipeline of highly-skilled workers, those born in America as well as abroad.
What the executive order is likely to accomplish is the stifling of the Silicon Valley tech economy and the ability to fill the gap between U.S. students graduating with Computer Science degrees and the demand for highly- skilled workers. It’s important that we always consider data over dogma so here are a few relevant facts:
- The U.S. only graduates 50,000 computer science degree majors per year, with 125,000 job openings in the field. Of those 50,000, half are foreign-born meaning only 25,000 were actually born in the U.S.
- The number of visas available are limited. Since 2004, the cap has been set at 85,000 new H-1Bs annually, 65,000 for foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree, and another 20,000 reserved for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
Highly-skilled Talent Salaries:
- A recent survey looking at Bay Area companies in the top ten of H-1B visa sponsors found employees were making more than the prevailing wage. In some cases, employees made$30,000 more than the prevailing wage debunking the myth that H-1B visas are used to replace American workers with lower-paid foreign talent.
- With filing fees, American Workforce Improvement Act fees, fraud fees, premium processing fees and attendant attorney’s fees, the total cost for a single employee can be more than $10,000.
H-1B Visa Efficiency:
- Depending on the company and visa-applicant’s circumstances, the current wait time for processing an H-1B visa is three to six months. Additional reviews and inefficiencies would only prolong the wait.
“We have to acknowledge we’re only five percent of the world’s population. We want to recruit the best and the brightest from here, in the U.S., and around the globe, so we can compete successfully abroad,” said CEO and President Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Are there anecdotes of some companies abusing the system? Certainly, but let’s not create such tight restrictions that we cause a boomerang effect where perhaps more companies choose to move overseas chasing the talent pipeline they need.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, an organization of 400 employers with facilities in all 50 states and almost every Congressional District, urges the Trump Administration, the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor, Commerce, and State to consider the economic dampening effect that roadblocks and inefficiencies will bring. Through discussion and dialogue, data over dogma can lessen division and produce creative solutions. For more facts, please click here: Facts over Fear, Data over Dogma.