Tech CEOs call for reform on "outdated" immigration laws

Google, Zynga, Facebook and Microsoft speak up about tech skills shortage in the US

The chief executives of more than 100 American tech companies have signed a letter calling for immigration reform to address skills shortages.

The letter, which was sent to the president and key lawmakers, was signed by Google's Eric Schmidt, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Zynga's Mark Pincus and Microsoft's Bradford L. Smith among many, many others.

It described the, "need for more qualified, highly-skilled professionals, domestic and foreign, who can create jobs and immediately contribute to and improve our economy," as one of the major economic challenges facing the nation. Google, eBay, PayPal and Yahoo! are all cited as examples of of companies started by immigrants that have inspired job creation and economic growth.

"Yet because our current immigration system is outdated and inefficient, many highly-skilled immigrants who want to stay in America are forced to leave because they are unable to obtain permanent visas. Some do not bother to come in the first place. This is often due to visa shortages, long waits for green cards and lack of mobility."

The letter calls for immigration reforms that will match visa availability to the demands of the American job market, and make spouses and children exempt from the overall visa cap. There are currently 10,000 skilled job openings between just five of the companies that signed the letter: IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm.

Thanks, The Hill.

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Latest comments (7)

Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Splash Damage5 years ago
Tech companies here should send a letter to the UK government about their ridiculous immigration rules.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London5 years ago
Quite. If the Americans think they have it bad, I hate to think what they'd think of the UK immigration system, which is driven more by pandering to tabloid fear mongering than common sense and political and economic reality.
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I've had quite a pleasant experience when moved to the UK from another EU country. NI number and bank account within a week, no problem whatsoever. Did two stints there, two and three years.

Honestly, I wouldn't even bother looking in the US because the ridiculous regulations, and long waiting lists.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up5 years ago
Last time I flew into the US to see family, I was sitting next to a man on the plane from Romania, couldn't speak one word of English and asked me to fill out his landing cards by using hand gestures and making noises. I filled it out for him as best I could. He had a name obviously, but no address to write on the landing card, and no further details to prove who he was. Then he pulled out a permanent residents green card and was on his way to a new life in America for the first time. Got no idea how he got on at passport control but he couldn't communicate at all in the native language. How that's of benefit to the country over a skilled person I'll never know.

Filling out his landing card added to my own frustration of having a family visa application in for what is now 7 years. Its being processed at the moment but will probably take around another 4 years. That's 11 years in total for my sister who is a US citizen to get me, a skilled person in to the country. Needless to say life changes, and as a result I'm probably now unlikely to be taking the chance when it comes around. Same thing goes for people on H1B visas. They cant hang around waiting for too long with job applications.

I know a couple of skilled guys who had to leave with their family as their kids had just turned 16 and were no longer legally allowed to stay in the country with their parents.

I would say it needs looking at for sure. There are opportunities being missed all over the place and the rest of the world is diversifying. Countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand are cashing in with their sensible immigration systems.
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games5 years ago
These tech companies want foreign workers because the companies can pay them a third of what US citizens usually make.
There is not a shortage of skilled workers in the US. Most of these companies just won't hire anyone who is highly skilled and happens to be over the age of 40. "They won't fit in."
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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania5 years ago
Have to agree with Gary here.I think the major issue is the hiring ethic& company culture rather than a real lack of a highly-skilled employee pool. Trying to drive down costs by doubling up on juniors instead of one senior position is just one of many such nasty examples. Not to mention that straight-up tech jobs still pay, on the whole, much less than their financial tech counterparts. Not even worth mentioning the games industry in here as it's probably the lowest paid highly-skilled tech branch.

If I was to read into the workforce movement within the EU, i'd have to say that developed countries are actually, primarily, lacking in lowly skilled/ paid workers.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 18th March 2013 9:53pm

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Al Nelson Producer, Tripwire Interactive5 years ago
At first glance, I thought it said "Immigrants call for updates for outdated tech CEO's."
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