Sparks Fly from All Sides: The H-1B Visa Debate

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Sparks Fly from All Sides: The H-1B Visa Debate

Sparks Fly from All Sides: The H-1B Visa DebateBy Roy Mark

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Bill Gates, Billionaire Software Mogul and Philanthropist

"The whole idea of the H-1B thing is don't let too many smart people come into the country. Basically, it doesn't make sense."

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Sen. Dick Durbin

"The H-1B program was never meant to replace qualified American workers. It was meant to complement them because of a shortage of workers in specialized fields. In tough economic times like we're seeing, it's even more important that we do everything possible to see that Americans are given every consideration when applying for jobs."

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Robert E. Litan, VP of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation

"A substantial number of highly skilled immigrants have started returning to their home countries in recent years, draining a key source of brain power and innovation."

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Programmers Guild

"It's a fiction that the United States suffers a shortage of skilled labor, and most H-1B aliens fill entry-level jobs. By far the most H-1Bs are issued to people from India, with the second largest number coming from China."

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"[Not all of the] unemployed are capable of doing the jobs for which H-1Bs are being hired. Workers are not fungible that way. Sometimes the best person for the job just happens to be born elsewhere."

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Sen. Judd Gregg

"One of the main concerns I hear from businesses in New Hampshire and across the nation is a need for more highly skilled workers and that current law is stymieing their ability to hire the workers they desperately need. In today's competitive global markets, the U.S. must be looking for ways to stay ahead and these [H-1B] bills offer effective, common sense ways to do just that."

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Vivek Wadhwa, Executive in Residence, Duke University

"Right now, hiring an H-1B worker is toxic. They're trying to portray hiring an H-1B worker as unpatriotic, and that's scaring tech executives."

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Sen. Charles Grassley

"My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers. Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force."

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Som Mittal, president of the NASSCOM trade group

"The reduction in [H-1B] applications is completely linked to the economic downturn. I think that as the economy turns around, the [H-1B visa] cap will again be reached quickly."

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Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder of the Everest Group

"Unless we are heading into a Great Depression, pressure on the H-1B visa program will increase as the economy rebounds. It's almost impossible for me to believe demand [for H-1Bs] will lessen long term. I find it mildly surprising there are some extras left now."

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