Friday, April 29, 2005

Gates and Visas

Bill Gates recently went on a lobbying visit to Washington and when asked what he'd do if he were in charge, one answer that seems to have surprised some in the media is that he'd advocate removing the limit on H1B visas. Gates views this limit as crazy and in essence said we are capping the number of smart people allowed to work in the US. A few politicians took issue with his view saying that tech jobs are not being created in US right now and thus the cap made sense. Of course what these politicians failed to say was what type of jobs were not being created. While many engineering jobs have found there way to places like India, the largest shift in recent years has been in areas such as customer support and customer service. The people who do these jobs are not the ones Gates is talking about. He wants programmers and software engineers so that the US can maintain its position as world leader in the tech arena. If we keep the cap places like India and China is where these engineers will wind up being employed - and there's a good chance they won't be employed by US companies. As you may tell by my tone, I tend to side with Bill on this one. I think it's crazy that the US limits how many scientists and engineers come in to the US to work. The future of the US will not be determined by call centers, it will be determined by people developing great new products that people want or need to buy. So please, let's focus on the destination not the current economic situation.

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