Oracle Hires D.C. Lobbying Firm

Oracle taps D.C. lobbyists to press the federal government on H-1B visas, intellectual property rights.

At a time when the President Bush is under fire for his immigration reform initiatives and the software industry is up in arms over intellectual property rights, Oracle has hired a Washington D.C. law firm to press its case in both matters.

Oracle hired Barbour Griffith & Rogers to lobby the federal government on immigration, intellectual property, trade and foreign investment issues, among others, according to the Associated Press, which quoted a federal disclosure form.

Former national security advisor and deputy assistant to President Bush, Robert Blackwell, is one of the lobbyists registered to work on behalf of Oracle. Blackwell also served as an ambassador to India, a post that could serve him well if Oracle indeed plans to lobby for more H-1B Visa slots.

The controversial H-1B program—many U.S. citizens believe the visas take jobs away from American IT workers—allows U.S. employers to seek temporary help from skilled foreigners who have the equivalent of a Bachelors degree. The basic quota for H-1B workers is set at 65,000 this year, with an additional 20,000 visas available for foreigners with advanced degrees.

More than half the visas granted in 2006 were to Chinese and Indian workers and the visa slots generally fill up quickly. Oracle, along with Microsoft and IBM, is among the top three technology companies to hire H-1B employees in the United States. In 2006, Oracle brought in 1,022 workers from the H-1B pool, and it is anticipated that number will increase to nearly 6,000 over the next six years, according to media reports. (Microsoft brought in 3,117 visa holders and IBM 1,130 from the H-1B pool last year.)

Walker Roberts, a former staffer under Illinois Republican Rep. Henry Hyde and Celeste Ward, a former special assistant to a State Department Counselor, are also registered to lobby for Oracle.


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