The WSJ is supporting a new push to expand the number of H-1B visas. They argue that more visas are needed because many of our most successful U.S. tech companies were founded by immigrants.The WSJ article relies on this study (pdf). The study was funded by a consortium of firms that want to import cheap labor for startup companies.
A closer look at these claims:
Intel cofounder Andy Grove escaped from Hungary during the 1956 revolution, arriving at the age of 20. He completed his college education in the United States, graduating from C.C.N.Y. in 1960. He earned a Ph.D. at Berkeley before joining Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce at Intel in 1968.
Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang came from Taiwan in 1979 at the age of 10 with his widowed mother, an English teacher. He was educated entirely in the United States, graduating from Stanford in 1990. He was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Stanford when he and David Filo created Yahoo.com in 1994.
Google cofounder Sergey Brin came from Russia in 1979 at the age of 6 with his parents, both of whom are mathematicians. He was educated entirely in the United States, graduating from the University of Maryland in 1993. He was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Stanford when he and Larry Page created Google.com in 1997.
eBay founder Pierre Omidyar came from France in 1973-74 at the age of 6 with his Iranian-born parents. He was educated entirely in the United States, attending a private prep school in Maryland and graduating from Tufts in 1988 with a degree in computer science. He wrote the original code for eBay and launched the site in 1995 under its original name of AuctionWeb.
Two of the four men who cofounded Sun Microsystems in 1982 were foreign born: Vinod Khosla graduated from engineering school in his native India; Andy Bechtolsheim graduated from engineering school in his native Germany. They both earned master's degrees from Carnegie Mellon in the 1970s, then did further graduate work at Stanford, where they met fellow Sun cofounders Bill Joy and Scott MacNealy.
The WSJ omits Philippe Kahn, who founded Borland in 1983. Kahn was entirely educated in Europe, came to the U.S. in 1982 on a tourist visa, which he overstayed, becoming an illegal alien. Apparently he obtained legal residency in the 1986 amnesty.
None of these people came on H-1B visas. Which raises the question, has any company ever been started by someone who came on H-1B? And a further question: Is the WSJ being intentionally deceptive or just inadvertently so?
Monday, November 27, 2006
Import cheap skilled labor