Re: FWD/MEDIA: High-tech Firms Seek To End Cap On Foreign

Philip Witham (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 18:03:49 -0800

> SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft and other high-tech companies,
> which say they face a critical shortage of programmers and
> engineers, this week will ask Congress to eliminate the hiring
> cap on foreign professionals.

> The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA, the
> leading U.S. professional group for electrical and electronics
> engineers, wants to retain the current limit.

This is a recurring argument between the engineers and industry, about every
five years or so, whenever things get good economically. the IEEE takes the
predictable stance for its constituents.

Interesting, the thought of high-tech workers becoming a "Global Privileged
Elite", though I'm not sure I like the sound of "Privileged Elite". Global,
that's good enough for me.

The reason high-tech companies have a shortage is that they don't want to pay
more for us geeks if they can avoid it. Despite record low unemployment for
engineers and programmers, except in certain specialties and areas (the SF Bay
area, ASIC design), wages have hardly increased for years. There may be a
shortage, but not enough of one to increase the $incentive for students to
choose a high-tech career over other options. Or even for experienced
engineers to remain engineers. Elite? Hardly. And who can say that they
should make more than some foreigner of equal skills? I can't justify a
foreign hiring cap even though it's to my short-term benefit.

There has never been a talent shortage, just a shortage of cheap talent. No
shortage of cheap, crafty businessmen.