Home Daily Blitz Silicon Valley battles Donald Trump on skilled immigrants

Silicon Valley battles Donald Trump on skilled immigrants


marketwatch articleThe following is an excerpt from Ciara Linnane | September 19, 2015 | marketwatch.com |

As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to wage his war on immigrants, Silicon Valley is fighting back.

A lobbying group created by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and others is pushing to get genuine immigration reform on the agenda of the U.S. presidential campaign. “Attracting entrepreneurs and human capital is critical to the tech community,” Todd Schulte, president of the group, said on a Thursday conference call, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The group is clamoring for the government to expand its H-1B visa program for highly skilled foreign workers, which was capped in 1990.

The call came a day after the latest Republican debate and just weeks after Trump criticized Facebook FB, +0.06% for lowering wages for Americans by hiring foreign workers. Trump has proposed that all job openings be first offered to unemployed Americans before foreigners can apply.

Labor Department data show the number of applications for special visas for skilled foreign workers is likely to climb about 50% in 2015 once the full data set has been tallied. That’s mostly because of a push from Silicon Valley and other tech hubs to be allowed to bring in university graduates in disciplines such as math, engineering and science to meet a gap in demand.

The data show the number of so-called Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) — the first step in applying for H-1Bs and other specialist visas, as well as green cards — came to 390,280 in the first half of 2015, the only two quarters for which data has been submitted. Extrapolating that over the full year, LCAs are forecast to total 780,560, up 52% from 2014.

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