He urged the House Committee on Science and Technology to “allow high-tech companies to hire more skilled foreign workers,” among other (more admirable) requests such as better domestic education.
He charged that the current limit of 65,000 H-1B visas per year “bears no relation to the U.S. economy’s demand for skilled professionals,” […]
It’s not meant to match our economy’s demand. It’s meant to fill the gap between the number of workers needed and the number of workers available if the latter is less than the former. The idea is that we shouldn’t be giving jobs to foreign citizens unless there aren’t enough U.S. citizens to fill them.
Disputing claims that skilled immigrants would cost American jobs, Gates argued that Microsoft hires four Americans for supporting roles for every high-skilled H-1B visa holder it hires. He also cited a study by a Virginia-based group that found a similar pattern held in other American high-tech companies.
Might this indicate a different issue?
Software-development salaries have been stagnant for years, and working conditions have worsened. Workaholism is infecting the entire industry. “Old” programmers (often as young as 35) are driven out because they’re too expensive and refuse to give up their personal and family lives to work 60-hour weeks. And many great developers have left the field because the rampant outsourcing has destroyed any semblance of job security, while driving the quality of the output through the floor.
The few remaining developers don’t get through the ineffective, arcane HR resume-buzzword filters that big companies hire with. Those who get interviews (because they had the right acronyms on their resumes) are often unfairly penalized because they haven’t yet memorized the answers to your trendy trick questions and brain teasers that have no bearing on actual software development abilities.
It’s all supply and demand, Bill. Make software development a more attractive industry to work in, and you’ll get plenty of qualified Americans willing to fill these jobs.