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Indians face the worst backlog when it comes to getting an American green card. Nearly 7,000 applications for permanent residency by Indians were pending in 2019—almost 35 times the number in 2018. These long queues may push Indian talent out of the US, with techies already looking to Canada, Japan, and other countries with more welcoming immigration processes.

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  • To understand the long term impact, one needs to understand the hiring cycle as it was prior to 2016. Indian college students learn specific software or technologies such as Oracle, where most Americans study more broadly in Computer Science or MIS. Entry and mid-level Indian applicants tend to hit the

    To understand the long term impact, one needs to understand the hiring cycle as it was prior to 2016. Indian college students learn specific software or technologies such as Oracle, where most Americans study more broadly in Computer Science or MIS. Entry and mid-level Indian applicants tend to hit the ground running as there is less of a tech learning curve, plus they are more open to 100% travel and/or relocation. On the employer side, their skills in addition to ability to go where the work is, is beneficial. In exchange, keeping in mind typically lower salaries, employers pay for immigration processing (working visas). Costs in this area have risen substantially over the last decade, however productivity tends to make up for it financially. In the meantime, while working with valid visas, foreign nationals are able to apply for permanent residence known as the “green card”, which enables them to stay in the country, working without the need of a visa, and also enables them to apply to become naturalized citizens. In my experience they settle here, buy their homes here, and raise their families here, thus positively contributing to both our economy and our workforce. Indian and many other Eastern Asian nationals contribute to the backbone of the tech sector as they are often better educationally qualified and willing to take on the travel and working lifestyle that many Americans are not, and for a lower starting salary. Holding back immigration processing for an educated, enthusiastic workforce who will eventually take their skills to a more welcoming country, will ultimately set us back or cost companies more in the long run. Training and education for specific technology is costly. If a candidate pays for it, they'll seek to recoup the costs through employment. If an employer pays for it, they are also paying employees' salaries while they're learning, and oftentimes employers just send them into the general workforce resulting in sloppy "on the job training". Ultimately, despite the time and expense of immigration processing, we get a percentage of a more skilled and able workforce in the tech sector. It’s unfortunate that we might be handling all immigrants in this way - as though they do not have positive skills to contribute to our economic growth. I spent my entire career working in tech in operations. I think the current situation costs companies in many ways, the most important being advances in technology and profitability.