Practically before Bill Gates finished his Senate testimony in support of the H1 visa program this morning, Seattle-based WashTech gave its supporters a “click to send” form letter countering his statements.
Gates told a Senate committee it would be “fantastic” if the government would increase the H-1B visa limit from 65,000 a year to, say, 300,000.
According to a Bloomberg report, Gates said:
“Even though it may not be realistic, I do not believe there should be any limit. These employees are vital to U.S. competitiveness, and we should encourage them to become permanent U.S. residents so that they can drive innovation and economic growth alongside America’s native-born talent.”
He said the U.S. should simultaneously invest more in research and education and double the output of math and science graduates.
WashTech’s form letter didn’t mince words. It also made the assumption that tech workers have friends who are highly skilled and unemployed because of the visa program:
As a high-tech worker in this country, I oppose further expansion of the H-1B visa program that is riddled with fraud, abuse and undermines the economic rights of citizens and immigrants alike. Increasing the visa program is actually detrimental for U.S. citizens from seeking out technical professions because they believe that their will be too many workers seeking to few job openings.
I know of my friends that are highly educated and skilled but have faced long periods of unemployment. The only thing tech workers are guaranteed today is economic uncertainty caused by the winds of globalization and relentless corporate downsizing.
If you’d like to draw your own conclusions, here’s a link to a video of today’s hearing (the committee used RealNetworks’ player …) and Bill Gates’ prepared comments. Here’s a story about Microsoft making the same pitch last year.