Do You Think the H-1B Visa Cap Is ‘Stupid’?

Alphabet’s executive chair Eric Schmidt thinks it is

19 May 2017

The controversial but popular U.S. H-1B work visa program, meant to attract skilled foreign labor, is undergoing review by federal agencies. Each year the H-1B program allows a maximum of 85,000 noncitizens to work in the United States for up to six years. Some say they are concerned that the program is being used to replace U.S. workers with cheaper labor.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt—now executive chair of Alphabet, Google’s parent company—disagrees with putting a cap on the number of H-1B visa holders. During a Q&A session held this month at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, he said any limits on the program make it more difficult for U.S. companies to remain competitive. He said the cap is the “single stupidest policy” in the entire American system.

“A properly run company—and certainly a tech company—is really about having the best people in the world,” regardless of sex, race, or country, Schmidt said. “We want them to work for us and not our competitors.”

The United States should be attracting skilled workers, he says, adding that the H-1B policy restricts U.S. companies from having a fair chance of recruiting them.

Do you agree with Schmidt? Or do you think a cap should be put on H-1B visas?

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