Restrictions to Foreign-Born Workers Could Adversely Affect U.S. Businesses

As the landmark comprehensive immigration reform bill is set to begin its approval process in the House of Representatives this fall, many U.S. businesses are concerned about provisions that could severely limit access to foreign-born workers and negatively impact their ability to compete in a global marketplace. Indian IT companies will certainly feel the effects if H-1B and L1 visa programs are restricted.

These visas allow U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. American business advocacy organizations are concerned that by restricting access to highly skilled foreign-born labor, the U.S. will suffer in its ability to remain globally competitive. In the past, U.S. businesses have relied on contracts with global IT service providers, including Indian IT companies in order to propel economic growth and job creation.

Those that oppose these new restrictions claim that the U.S. will not be able to compete on a level playing field with other international companies. The majority of businesses affected by the potential visa restrictions are Fortune 500 companies. Ron Somers, president of the United States India Business Council (USIBC) warns, “Such restrictions could stifle U.S. innovation, slow local job creation and force companies to move jobs overseas.” Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google agrees. In a recent forum at the Aspen Institute, he cites the immigration issue as the top impediment to economic growth. “America is sufficiently stupid that we take smart people from other countries, we educate them at the best universities in the world, and then we kick them out and send them to other countries to create companies to compete with ours,” Schmidt said.

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