valley workers visa foreign tech seattle

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

Nearly three-quarters of Valley techies are foreignWith the debate over immigration to the U.S. as fiery as ever, a new analysissuggests that Silicon Valley would be lost without foreign-born technologyworkers.About 71 percent of tech employees in the Valley are foreign born, compared toaround 50 percent in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward region, according to anew report based on 2016 census data.Immigrant techies tend to go to “the center of the action,” Seattle venturecapitalist S. “Soma” Somasegar told the Seattle Times.And Silicon Valley remains the “center of the tech universe,” according to thenewspaper.Beyond personal preferences, and the sheer number of companies in areas suchas Silicon Valley and fast-growing Seattle, the financial resources of majortechnology firms also play a role in bringing in immigrants, the Seattle Timesreported Wednesday.Many foreign tech workers are employed under the controversial H-1B visa —intended for specialty occupations — which has become a flashpoint in the U.S.cage fight over immigration, with opponents claiming it lets foreigners stealAmerican jobs. Several companies and UC San Francisco have been accused ofabusing the visa program by using it as a tool to outsource Americans’ jobs toworkers from far-away lands.Although 2016 data released by the federal government last year showed thatoutsourcing companies — mostly from India — raked in the bulk of H-1B visas,Google took more than 2,500 and Apple took nearly 2,000 to hire foreignworkers, about 60 percent of them holding master’s degrees.Large companies, the Seattle Times pointed out, are better equipped to bringin workers under the H-1B.“The H1-B process is not just complicated — it’s also quite expensive tosponsor an H1-B visa worker, a cost larger companies may be more willing toabsorb,” the paper reported.Legal blog UpCounsel puts the cost of the H-1B process at $10,000 to $11,000per employee.The Seattle Times did not include in its report a breakdown for Silicon Valleyof how many foreign-born tech workers are U.S. citizens, versus visa holders.But the paper’s research indicated that 63 percent of Seattle’s foreign-borntech workers were not American citizens.Backlash against the H-1B visa has been one part of the furor over U.S.immigration policies that has grown since President Donald Trump begancampaigning for the presidency on an anti-immigrant platform. Fissures havewidened in public opinion over Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” on immigrantsfrom Muslim-majority countries, over the admission of refugees, and over theunresolved fate of DACA, the program that has let millions of foreign citizens— brought to the U.S. illegally as children — remain in the country.

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