The news of the possibility of suspending work visas for H-1B holders has led me to consider what this would mean for not only my business, but for the technology sector, the economy, and U.S. citizens as a whole. In short, this is not good news and here’s why: Eight years ago, when our company was in its infancy, we were given a great opportunity. We were the chosen vendor to work on a multi-year, multimillion dollar project. This was about as serendipitous of an opportunity as any new company who recently opened its doors could ever hope for. Of course, the only problem now was finding the talent to perform the work on this large scale application.
While we were able to secure most of the talent here in the U.S, due to the unique engineering skills required, we needed to expand our reach. We were introduced to this phenom of a developer in Sri Lanka who was the missing puzzle piece that we needed for this complex endeavor to be a success. Through the H-1B program, we were able to sponsor this talented young man and the project went on for 5 years until its successful completion just a few years ago. This project’s success helped spearhead the early growth of our organization.
The fact is that H-1Bs make a positive contributions to the U.S. economy. They help create new jobs and new opportunities for economic expansion and the benefits aren’t limited to the technology sector. Eight companies that are currently working to develop a coronavirus vaccine—Gilead Sciences, Moderna Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, Inovio, Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron, Vir Therapeutics, and Sanofi, received approvals for 3,310 biochemists, biophysicists, chemists and other scientists through the H-1B program. This program works, the data is irrefutable. You would be hard pressed to find a single Silicon Valley executive who doesn’t support this valuable program. The idea of halting the programs is intended to save American jobs. But, if the industry leaders are telling us that providing H-1B visas is a good thing, shouldn’t we be listening to them?