Washington: CEO and founder of popular site LinkedIn Reid Hoffman on Thursday urged the US Congress and the Obama Administration to remove the cap on H-1B visas, which enable foreign nationals to live and work in the United States.
LinkedIn is a popular business-oriented social networking site.
“Remove the cap on H-1B visas and impose a 10% payroll tax beyond the benchmark salary for each visa,” Hoffman wrote in an article “Stimulus 2.0: It’s the Startups, Stupid” in TechCrunch, a publication of The Washington Post.
A day earlier in another article in The Washington Post, Hoffman made a similar argument for the next phase of stimulus policies.
Observing that the US is a country founded on immigration, Hoffman said, “We should welcome the best and the brightest as our own. Abolish the H-1B cap, and give me an economic reason for preferring local. I’ll only do foreign if I need to.”
Hoffman said, “A 10% payroll tax for each H-1B visa can be reinvested in whatever it takes to get American talent up to the same level”.
This has been proposed previously, but a payroll tax ensures that H-1Bs are used for skilled labour, not cheap labour.“
Among his other two proposals to stimulate the US economy include applying a micro-lending model that has proved successful in developing countries, extending credit lines up to $50,000. “Match up to ($100 million) in stimulus funds for qualifying venture and angel investments if they create jobs in the US,” he said.
Hoffman argued that foreign innovators need to be welcomed to the US. Harvard Research Fellow Vivek Wadhwa reports that immigrants have founded more than half of all Silicon Valley start-ups in the past decade, he said.
These immigrant-led, American tech companies employed more than 4,50,000 workers and grossed $52 billion in 2005. “For US companies to employ a highly specialized foreign worker, the employee must hold an H-1B visa, but current law allows for the issuing of only 65,000 H-1B visas per year,” he said.