Stimulus Bill Restricts Hiring of Internationals

This is going to help the US economy?

Under a recently passed amendment to the federal stimulus bill, companies participating in the Troubled Assets Relief Program—a government financial-rescue plan implemented last fall—will face more restrictions in hiring H-1B visa holders, foreigners with at least a bachelor’s degree and “highly specialized knowledge” in a particular field.


Firms that have accepted TARP funds would be required to demonstrate that they have made concerted efforts to employ and avoid laying off U.S. citizens before hiring H-1B visa holders, said Kevin Casey, the University’s chief lobbyist.

I can only repeat (almost) what I said in the comments:

As an HBS graduate who works with software and technology companies both in Europe and the US, I can only bemoan this measure as uniquely shortsighted – and very helpful to European and Asian software companies, who can hire graduates from top US schools. For mysterious reasons, the US don’t want them once they have been trained and can contribute to the economy.

The fact that large companies now are putting their software research and development (not maintenance ) centers in Canada (just across the border in Vancouver) or in India speaks volumes. On the other hand, it may make it easier for me to find people…

I think the best solution for the US economy is Tom Friedman and others’ idea to allow a few million Chinese, Indian or Korean immigrants, provided they buy a house. Talk about a shovel-ready project….

(Via Greg Mankiw.)

Update March 11: This is indirectly hurting American export of education (where there is an $11.2b trade surplus. I have heard similar from other academics recently. I suppose this is good news for the Norwegian School of Management (we’ll get more and  better foreign students since the USA offers a less attractive proposition), but still, this is bad news overall.

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