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The H1B Problem Solved

I’ve long thought that the US Congress H1B limits were a short sighted and protectionist measure holding up the technology industry south of the border.  Certainly, while I was at Microsoft our toughest problem was finding good people, and that was the reason Microsoft lobbied so hard to have those limits increased.  I never could understand why Congress saw it as a problem that Microsoft would want to recruit the best and the brightest people they could find, globally, and then have them come, live, contribute to the economy, and pay taxes in the US.

This morning I chatted with a friend in India who runs a software development house there.  They were recently bought by a US firm.  That US firm can now apply for the easier to obtain L1B visa for it’s new employees.  Apparently this is going on all over India.  According to my friend, there are very few small software houses left in India.  They’ve all become American subsidiaries.  It’s a win for everyone.  The quality of life for the Indian employees is improving (his bill out rate is now nearly twice the rate it was before the buyout), the US firm has acquired a pool of inexpensive talent without the expense and difficulty of recruiting in India, and they are now able to import the individuals they wish to the US at will

The only person who doesn’t win in this, really, is the American taxpayer.  A certain percentage of those jobs which might have become US jobs, are now more likely to stay Indian jobs.

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