Google`s Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
April 02, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Elinor Mills writes at News.com:
"As a technology company, Google's success depends on its ability to attract, hire, and retain the best and brightest wherever they come from," they wrote in a post on the Google Public Policy Blog.

Last year, 248 of Google's visa applications were accepted and 70 were rejected, the post says.

"That's 70 potential U.S. employees who would be creating innovative new Google products, paying taxes, contributing to the U.S. economy, and spurring the creation of additional support jobs at Google," the Google post says.

"If Google and other American companies are unable to hire and employ in the U.S. the world's top scientists, mathematicians, and engineers—many of whom are already here studying at an American university—foreign competitors will and we will lose opportunities to create more jobs and innovate here at home,"

Later in the article, we see a bit of the truth:
According to statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the typical H-1B holder holds a bachelor's degree and is making a median salary of $50,000.
Now, the national median household income in the United States is around $44,389-and most of these folks don't have college degrees-or live in places like Silicon Valley.

Now, maybe Google pays a bit better than the median for H-1b salaries, but this isn't really about getting a few "real bright" people at Microsoft or Google. If it were, Microsoft and Google could propose something like an auction of the existing H-1b quota so that rich companies like their own could get the visas they need out of the existing quota.

What this is really about, it making sure that large tech companies can attract workers using a "corporate benefit" that costs them very little to provide-US citizenship. The problem is that doing so means the US has less human capital than would otherwise. Basically guest work programs as they have been structured in the US pretty much assure that US citizens will tend to avoid those professions that are the target of guest worker visas.

Countries like Japan have competitive economies and very little immigration. Now, of course, companies like Google will be trying to get something for nothing. but ultimately, that isn't the American way.