H-1B: Foreign Citizens Make Up Nearly Three-Quarters of Silicon Valley Tech Workforce, Report Says

Ethan Baron, Mercury News, January 18, 2018

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About 71 percent of tech employees in the Valley are foreign born, compared to around 50 percent in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward region, according to a new report based on 2016 census data.

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Many foreign tech workers are employed under the controversial H-1B visa — intended for specialty occupations — which has become a flashpoint in the U.S. cage fight over immigration, with opponents claiming it lets foreigners steal American jobs. Several companies and UC San Francisco have been accused of abusing the visa program by using it as a tool to outsource Americans’ jobs to workers from far-away lands.

Although 2016 data released by the federal government last year showed that outsourcing companies — mostly from India — raked in the bulk of H-1B visas, Google took more than 2,500 and Apple took nearly 2,000 to hire foreign workers, about 60 percent of them holding master’s degrees.

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“The H1-B process is not just complicated — it’s also quite expensive to sponsor an H1-B visa worker, a cost larger companies may be more willing to absorb,” the paper reported.

Legal blog UpCounsel puts the cost of the H-1B process at $10,000 to $11,000 per employee.

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