The US has a chronic shortage of technology workers. Sure the job market has gone up and down over the past decade but today, we need more tech workers at various levels and it seems being a programmer or engineer has lost its glamour in the US. So where does this leave US-based business?
Some top tech leaders have said the need for foreign tech workers is infinite. It is tough not to believe this is true with the opening of US company research centers all around the world.
According to Internetnews, one day after the opening of the H1-B visa program process, the 2008 allotment of 85,000 H1-B visas was gone. Last year it took a month.
It is scary how out of touch the government is according to this article. Technology is a crucial cornerstone of the future of the US yet politicians seem to refuse to acknowledge the need for the US to have better access to foreign-born talent.
Politicians and other critics say we should rely on domestic workers but I can tell you from experience the number of resumes submitted to tech ads are far fewer than even in 2000. My experience is in Fairfield County, CT (where we are looking for an entry level web programmer – send me an e-mail if you want to apply) but the situation is not that different in other major metropolitan areas.
The numbers show the demand for H1-B visas is huge yet the politicians’ think it is more important to protect domestic jobs than to listen to business. This is a noble goal (and I am all for US job creation) but if American workers are not so interested in the technology field – and they obviously aren’t, then something must be done.
According to Bill Gates, "It makes no sense to tell well-trained, highly skilled individuals – many of whom are educated at our top universities — that they are not welcome here. We have to welcome the great minds in this world, not shut them out of our country."
"Scientists like Albert Einstein were born abroad but did great work here because we welcomed them," Gates said. "The contributions of such powerful intellects have been vital to many of the great breakthroughs made right here in America."
The technology markets move quickly. We need tech workers to fuel the next generation of US-based innovation today. Let’s raise the H1-B limit immediately while still safeguarding the needs of American workers. But let’s do it quickly before we allow other countries to take advantage of these open jobs.
After all, if American companies can’t do their R&D and development on our shores, they will continue to open offices in other countries where the talent exists. Personally I would rather have more tech workers in the US paying high taxes than continue sending work to other countries. It is time to send letters to our politicians telling them to increase the quota of H1-B visas which will allow companies to do more of their development work in the US instead of being forced to outsource.