So the US Congress has once again hobbled American businesses with their ridiculously low visa quotas. The H1-B quota for the 2009 Fiscal Year (the one that started on October 1, 2008) was filled just one week after the application period started. The US Citizenship and Immigration service received 65,000 applications for the regular H1-B program, plus 20,000 applications from foreign students receiving advanced degrees in the US. According to InfoWorld, this is the fifth consecutive year that the visa allotment has been filled before the fiscal year begins.
Here's the thing, though. Congress isn't going to fix the H1-B problem. Nope. Not while Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are strutting the countryside braying about how NAFTA is killing American jobs.
So, if you're an American business that needs talent, I have a suggestion. Open a Canadian branch office. That's what Microsoft has done, opening a Vancouver based development lab where they're planning to employ nearly 1,000 people. Canada is brimming with tech talent, and unlike India, we're actually in the same time zone as you are. Heck, 95% of us live within 100 miles of the US border. We're not even that far away! Plus, it's cheaper to live and do business here, and there are generous government programs that reward companies for doing things like hiring smart new grads. And speaking of smart new grads, did I mention that the University of Waterloo is one of the best engineering and math universities in the world? That's why Google opened an office there, and why RIM's development work is done there too.
Why gamble the future of your business on Congress' goofy lottery? Set up shop up north and never worry about hiring quality talent ever again.
(Honey!!?? Did you feed the sled dogs?? They keep scratching at the igloo door like they're hungry or something.)