Re: Tech Visas

Ian Andrew Bell (
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 09:53:27 -0700

The notion of work visas, limitations, etc. is just another sign that
governments, nations, and borders are becoming edifices of the past -- common
annoyances in the globalization of economies. As I am presently embroiled in
the most stressful process of my life -- obtaining a work visa so I can join my
friends at Cisco, I am seeing first hand what a gruelling and unnecessary
process this is.

In a perfect world, as we technology workers are free to roam the planet
without restriction we can go wherever the work is and support sustainable
growth wherever it is occurring, whether that's in France, California, or (god
forbid!) Toronto. British Columbia, where I presently live, is undergoing a
huge slump -- associated with that are disproportionately high cost of living
and diminished opportunity. It is my decision to go wherever will benefit me
most. It is Cisco's decision that they will hire the best possible person to
fill the job -- and that's me.

Ironically, what benefits the economies of a nation most are processes that
invite the world's best and brightest to their shores to build and strengthen
that economy -- not by casting the pearls of opportunity before the
underqualified and undereducated. The governments of the US and Canada, durin
gtheir nation building, offered strong-backed men parcels of land in exchange
for their agreeing to farm it -- the modern world should be little different.

There are 270,000 career openings in Silicon Valley -- this is the most rapid
growth curve of any industry in the history of the world, and the armies needed
to support it are not pouring from colleges and universities. These workers
will come from immigration and work visas. When the work diminishes, and
growth plateaus, there will be associated growth elsewhere, and those workers
will move on -- perhaps returning to their own countries with advanced
knowledge and the benefit of experience.

I'm not taking a job from anyone in the US that would be able to earn that
position away from me -- I am supporting sustainable growth in the US economy
and working hard to support your GNP. Without sounding too Marxist (now I'll
NEVER get that visa!) workers have to be able to sell their labour wherever
that is needed in order so support the growth of industry. We need an
international political structure in this world that is reflective of how our
economies work -- and that is most definitely NOT a structure which inhibits
the flow of money, goods, etc. between nations. Therefore, why should we
restrict human commodities to such an extreme?

What some of you are really seeking to protect here seems to me to be the
extortion of high salaries, bonuses, etc. for rarified skills when really that
isn't sustainable. I can understand that completely, and bully on you for
being so smart that you could see it coming. Let's appreciate though that the
only person it benefits is you -- not your country, not your company, just
you. You're bang on in your assessment, but just do us all a favour and don't
wrap yourself in the flag while you argue your point.


Lisa Lippert (Dusseault) (Exchange) wrote:

> You gave an example of legal and healthcare -- I don't know the situation in
> the US as well as I do in Canada, but these might be examples of professions
> that restrict the entrants to that profession in order to keep their wages
> high (as doctors seem to be doing in Canada). Perhaps that's the reason why
> it's so hard to see a doctor and people suffer as a result. It benefits the
> doctors who are already in, but is unfair to qualified candidates who never
> get to become doctors (my sister risks being one of those). Compare
> high-tech wages to other fields -- we're not doing too badly, right? Were
> you counting stock options, stock purchas plans and signing bonuses when you
> compared wages? Our high wages -- such as up to $100/hr to hire contract
> technical writers -- are a sign of too few qualified candidates.