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Facebook, Google and Yahoo Lobby for Highly-Skilled Immigrants

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Facebook, Google and Yahoo Lobby for Highly-Skilled Immigrants

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Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer is among those tech leaders asking Congress for immigration reform for highly-skilled workers. She is seen here arriving at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama and other business leaders in the fall of 2012.

Several leading Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook, Google and Yahoo, signed onto a letter asking the president and Congress for immigration reform for highly-skilled workers.

The move isn't surprising, considering that many entrepreneurs are immigrants themselves (including Google founder Sergey Brin), but others said that more highly-skilled immigrants would benefit the tech mecca, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. From the letter: 

“We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled non-immigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards.  .  .  . Bipartisan legislation currently introduced in the Senate, such as The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, and the Start-Up Visa Act, will encourage innovation here in the U.S. by allowing American companies and entrepreneurs to have access to the talented workers they need while simultaneously investing in STEM education here in the U.S. We know what it will take to keep America in a position of global leadership. We know that when America is leading, our economic growth follows to the benefit of our nation’s workforce.”
The letter was signed by executives from the aforementioned Facebook, Google and Yahoo, but also eBay, Intel, Cisco and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. More than 30 representatives of Silicon Valley technology will be in Washington to meet with Congress and President Obama to help push the agenda of more foreign workers.

The move is organized by TechNet, a bipartisan advocacy group for tech CEOs and senior executives based in both Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley.

The letter and lobbying Congress makes sense for tech companies looking to fill engineering or programming jobs -- provided there aren't enough American candidates, but will this lead to companies recruiting cheaper immigrant labor? While this is a short-term solution for most Silicon Valley companies, it's unknown what the long-term consequences for this action would be.

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