CEO and founder of popular site LinkedIn Reid Hoffman urged the US Congress and the Obama Administration to remove the cap on H-1B visas, which enable foreign nationals to live and work in the United States. LinkedIn is a popular business-oriented social networking site.First off, the taxes on imported labor that Hoffman is arguing for are quite a bit less than companies would pay in competitive econonmies like Singapore. I disagree strongly with Hoffman`s argument that the issue has ever been training of Americans—but even if he were right, the revenues on a $60,000/year H-1b worker would be something like $12,000 over six years. This would not even cover expenses for a 4 year IT program at a State University—let alone the true cost of education and the student`s opportunity cost of investment in their education. Hoffman is still advocating what amounts to a program that lets US companies grant green cards at far less than the value of citizenship. Such a program is inherently abusive.
â€?Remove the cap on H-1B visas and impose a 10 per cent payroll tax beyond the benchmark salary for each visa,â€? Hoffman wrote in an article â€?Stimulus 2.0: Itâ€™s the Startups, Stupidâ€? in TechCrunch, a publication of The Washington Post. A day earlier in another article in The Washington Post, Hoffman made a similar argument for the next phase of stimulus policies.
Observing that the US is a country founded on immigration, Hoffman said, â€?We should welcome the best and the brightest as our own. Abolish the H-1B cap, and give me an economic reason for preferring local. Iâ€™ll only do foreign if I need to.â€?
Hoffman said, â€?A 10 per cent payroll tax for each H-1B visa can be reinvested in whatever it takes to get American talent up to the same level.â€? This has been proposed previously, but a payroll tax ensures that H-1Bs are used for skilled labour, not cheap labour.