Firms that are able to attract and retain talented workers from overseas may be able to be more competitive and expand more domestically, thus creating even more demand for American high-skilled technology workers




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The global nature of the tech sector means visas increase the demand for domestic workers


Atkinson 10

Founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based technology policy think tank. He is also author of the State New Economy Index series and the book, The Past And Future Of America’s Economy: Long Waves Of Innovation That Power Cycles Of Growth

(Robert, H-1B Visa Workers: Lower-Wage Substitute, or Higher-Wage Complement?, June 10, 2010, http://www.itif.org/publications/h-1b-visa-workers-lower-wage-substitute-or-higher-wage-complement)

Why do H-1B visas not appear to negatively impact American IT workers? As the authors argue, the H-1B salary premium “lends support to foreign IT professionals as being complements rather than substitutes for American professionals.” In other words, these high skill immigrants do not substitute for or directly compete with U.S. tech workers. Rather, they complement them so that hiring foreign workers increases demand for domestic workers. A major reason for this is that firms that are able to attract and retain talented workers from overseas may be able to be more competitive and expand more domestically, thus creating even more demand for American high-skilled technology workers. Foreign high-skilled workers may have unique skills that make the U.S. firm more competitive in global markets. These skills may be quite narrow (an H-1B visa worker with deep expertise in cybersecurity in health information technology, for example), or may be broader (IT skills supplemented by a knowledge of foreign business practices and linkages to global professional networks). Likewise, foreign IT workers may be more willing to travel internationally. If U.S. firms only competed nationally, then additional immigrants in one occupational category like IT professionals might in fact reduce wages for domestic workers in that occupation. But when the economy is global and the occupations in question are in firms that are in global markets (e.g., as opposed to occupations like nurses or truck drivers that serve the domestic market), then high-skill foreign immigrants can expand jobs and opportunity for American workers by making U.S. firms more competitive. The authors go on to note that “policies that restrict the supply of highly skilled professionals for U.S. firms may force U.S. companies to hire professionals overseas, thus defeating the very rationale invoked for reactive policy responses.” In other words, when Congress imposes strict limits on H-1B visas, well below levels of demand, they may actually be hurting not just overall U.S. technology job growth, but employment growth of U.S. citizens. This suggests that a key component of a robust national innovation and competitiveness policy needs to include a more liberal approach to high skill immigration so that America can attract and retain the world’s best and brightest.


No nativist backlash, they love the plan


Bloomberg 6

premier site for updated business news and financial information

(“India's Clout in U.S. Congress Assisted by GE, Boeing, JPMorgan”, Michael Forsythe and Veena Trehan, July 16, 2006, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSVGFQNTru38)

For India, which wants the U.S. Congress to approve an accord allowing it to acquire nuclear technology, it helps to have friends in high places. Top executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co., General Electric Co. and Boeing Co. are among those lobbying lawmakers to approve the agreement -- a demonstration of the rapid emergence of pro-India groups as a political force in Washington. The effort has already yielded results. Last month, after hearing pleas from the companies, U.S. business groups and Indian-American business executives, House and Senate committees overwhelmingly approved the outlines of the agreement, which would give India access to power-plant technology from companies including Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE. The lobbying was ``a very impressive organizational effort,'' says Representative Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican who voted against the measure because of concern it may erode limits on nuclear-weapons technology. ``The United States Congress wants to be more pro-India,'' says Leach, chairman of a House subcommittee that oversees U.S.-India relations. India's influence stems from its economy's importance to U.S. businesses, as well as the Bush administration's view that the country's democratic government, rule of law and civilian control of the military set examples for other Asian and Middle Eastern nations. Second Only to Israel India, the world's 11th-largest economy and most populous democracy, may one day be second only to Israel among international interests able to influence Washington policy makers, says Robert Hoffman, a lobbyist for Redwood City, California-based Oracle Corp., which has a majority interest in an Indian software-maker. The nuclear agreement, he says, ``has been a coming-out party of sorts for the India lobby.'' Proponents say the outline of the nuclear agreement -- which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business organization, says may generate $100 billion in energy sales for U.S. companies including GE and San Francisco-based Bechtel Group Inc., the biggest U.S. engineering contractor -- is likely to be approved by Congress this year. A further vote would be needed on the pact's details. The U.S.-India relationship ``has enormous long-term potential because it is anchored in so many different elements of the American power structure: business, strategic thinkers and politics,'' says Stephen Biegun, vice president for international government affairs for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Motor Co. Cars in Chennai Ford, the world's third-largest automaker, makes about 50,000 cars a year in the eastern Indian city of Chennai. Biegun was an adviser to Condoleezza Rice, now the secretary of state, when she was President George W. Bush's national security adviser. Among executives writing to lawmakers was William Harrison, chairman of New York-based JPMorgan, the third-biggest U.S. bank, says Ron Somers, head of the Chamber's U.S-India Business Council. JPMorgan has more than 7,000 employees in India, spokesman Joe Evangelisti says. Others writing letters on India's behalf include James McNerney, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Boeing Co. -- the world's second-largest maker of commercial jets -- and James Reinsch, president of Bechtel's nuclear-power division, officials of the two companies say. AIG, Dow Chemical, Ford The lobbying includes executives of GE, the world's second- biggest company by market value; New York-based American International Group Inc., the world's largest insurer; Ford; Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Inc.; and Lockheed Martin Corp., Somers says. Company representatives have met weekly since late last year to devise lobbying strategies, he says. The pro-India lobby is far smaller than Israel's. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee had a $66.2 million budget in 2004, the most recent year for which records are available; India spends $1.3 million a year on its two Washington lobbying firms. The Chamber of Commerce and its India lobbyist, Patton Boggs LLP, Washington's biggest lobbying firm, haven't yet reported how much they are spending because such reports lag legislative events by as much as six months. The next test for the India lobby's power will come as early as this month, when the full House and Senate take up the nuclear agreement, which seeks to exempt India from a U.S. ban on nuclear exports to countries that haven't signed the 1970 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached the accord in March. `Coordinated Effort' Senator Barack Obama, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, says ``there appears to be a very coordinated effort to have every Indian-American person that I know contact me'' before the vote. Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, says that ``prominent investment bankers'' called as well. The Indian government hired the biggest Republican lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC, which employs former U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill. India also hired former Senator Birch Bayh, an Indiana Democrat and the father of current Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, to lobby on its behalf, according to records filed with the U.S. Justice Department. The Chamber of Commerce, which is based in Washington, said the effort has also been helped by support from international arms-control experts, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Political Fund-Raising Political committees made up of Indian-American executives are boosting their political donations. Sanjay Puri, president of the U.S. India Political Action Committee, estimates his group has held 17 fund-raisers this year for lawmakers including Democratic Representatives Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Jim McDermott of Washington, co-founders of the 185-member House India Caucus. The caucus and its 40-member Senate counterpart include about two-fifths of Congress. Puri is president and chief executive officer of Optimos Inc., an information technology company in Chantilly, Virginia. India's $775 billion economy expanded 9.3 percent in the first three months of 2006 from the year-earlier period. That growth helped raise GE's forecast for 2010 sales in India to $8 billion from $5 billion. GE Nuclear, a unit in Wilmington, North Carolina, says India may spend $27 billion on nuclear plants through 2020. In February, Boeing increased its forecast for aircraft sales in India through 2023 by 20 percent, to 592 planes. `Linchpin' Ford's Biegun says the nuclear agreement is the ``linchpin to cementing the U.S.-India relationship,'' boosting sales of his own and other U.S. companies. Tom Jurkowsky, a spokesman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the biggest U.S. defense contractor, says India might become a customer for his company's F-16 fighter planes and P-3 maritime patrol aircraft. While nuclear agreement is the India lobby's main focus right now, Somers, the head of the Chamber of Commerce's India business group, says it can also be mobilized on other matters, such as the outsourcing of U.S. jobs and restrictions on the number of visas available to highly skilled workers who want to come to the U.S. ``You better believe we're going to be up on the Hill in the future for other issues,'' Somers says.


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