Posted by Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President, People Operations
We have spoken out in the past about the valuable contributions highly skilled immigrants have made at Google. From developing products like Google News and Google Maps to managing our business and global marketing operations, talented foreign-born individuals have played and will continue to play a vital role at Google and throughout our economy.
Our experiences here at Google and in the tech sector show us that immigrants to the U.S. are a powerful force for entrepreneurship and innovation at every level, from startups to multinational corporations. Immigrants have founded 40 percent of companies in the tech sector that were financed by venture capital and went on to become public in the U.S., among them Yahoo, eBay, Intel, and Google. And according to a recent Kauffman Foundation study, nearly a quarter of the engineering and technology companies founded in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012 had at least one key founder who was foreign-born. In 2012, these companies employed roughly 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales.
Still, at a time when the U.S. economy needs it most, our immigration policies are stifling innovation. The 2013 cap for the H-1B visas that allow foreign high skilled talent to work temporarily in the U.S. was exhausted by June 2012, preventing tech companies from recruiting some of the world’s brightest minds. Additionally, the severe backlog of green card applications has forced many foreign-born, U.S. educated entrepreneurs to look elsewhere to start their businesses. Other countries, like Chile and Canada, have responded with immigration policies and programs that welcome these innovators who have been turned away from the U.S.
This is why we strongly support the bipartisan efforts being made to reform our high skilled immigration laws. We look forward to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure that talented individuals will continue to innovate in the U.S. - a critical part of getting the economy back on track and making it stronger for the long-run.