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back to article Bill Gates: Tough US immigration stance a 'huge mistake'

Bill Gates called US immigration restrictions a "huge mistake" while on tour of India today, urging America to open its golden doors for more "smart people." The Microsoft billionaire spoke out on US immigration at a software CEO forum Monday in New Delhi while visiting the country to receive the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, …

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Jobs Horns

What about stupid people?

People don't get to choose how smart they are, I don't think you can only allow people of a certain level of intelligence/education get in. That leads to brain drain from the countries which need their smart people to catch up with the developed world. Not to mention its discriminatory.

Steve Jobs devil because as much as I disagree with Bill here, Steve Jobs needs taking down a peg or two.

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Anonymous Coward

Gates is wrong

Gates is wrong

Cognizant is Number 6 on the list of companies receiving H-1B visas to bring foreign workers to the United States. The H1-B visa programs has been widely criticized as undercutting wages in the United States as foreign workers will often work for less than a comparable American worker, and unfair to the imported workers as it is routinely viewed as a form of indentured servitude. . Cognizant in April 2009 agreed to pay back wages to some of its H-1B workers after being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Cognizant themselves recognize their profit depends on their ability to employ workers from developing countries in such positions in the United States and Europe, rather than hiring nationals of each country and in their SEC 10-Q filing report “Our future success will depend on our ability to attract and retain employees with technical and project management skills from developing countries, especially India. The vast majority of our IT professionals in the United States and in Europe are Indian nationals. The ability of Indian nationals to work in the United States and Europe depends on their ability and our ability to obtain the necessary visas and work permits.” Cognizant, Satyam, Wipro, Tech Mahindra etc should all be prevented from importing thousands and thousands of Indian staff into the UK on false pretences, native European workers cannot compete with people funding a family in the 3rd world. And thousands of these folk having babies here and living here so long that they eventually get indefinite leave to remain because they have worked here so long, this IS NOT MANAGED MIGRATION.

Its easy for Gates to comment he is not an IT worker on the shop floor competitng with third world pay. We in the West have to ask ourselves what is our differentiator?

The way most Indian nationals working in IT in the UK has happened has been using inter company transfer Visas, and its a fraud, because mostly they are not working for the company that transfers them - rather they are subcontracted immediately for 3rd world rates. This is not sustainable.

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Gates campaigns for who?

Let's see here, Gates says we should be more liberal in our immigration policies. Then he says we should have tighter control over how we keep information on all citiizens. I'll bet that Obama just loves this guy.

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WTF?

WTF?

So not only does the developed World get fat siphoning off the natural resources of developing countries, but Bill wants to bleed them dry of talent too? Feck off, Bill.

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Bill is right

I agree with Bill on immigration, huge mistake. Bill needs to set an example, show that he puts his money were his mouth is. Why bring smart people from India only for engineering jobs? Start from the top, bring some executive staff members on H1B, may be even a CEO. I mean, we are told that good CEO is so hard to find, hence the absurd payouts.

On the ID card by Microsoft, that reminds me the ID "bug" from movie "Brazil".

Will the card come in home, premium and ultimate editions?

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self serving bastard

Only because Gates would like Microsoft to be able to import more really cheap labour from India, pay them crap, but have them tied to the company such that if the complain they get fired immediately and sent away again. There are a lot of unemployed "smart people" in the USA, but they aren't getting hired. One of the reasons they aren't getting hired is that companies like Microsoft would actually have to obey the law then dealing with these people. Unlike their foreign imports.

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Coffee/keyboard

ohh Yes please

let them go to america

We have enough immigrants from europe !!

Must do as icon saiz !!!

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Anonymous Coward

Mind you...

India is pretty tough on immigration too.

Probably tougher than USA.

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Pathetic

They have "smart" people in America too however like all industrialists he wants CHEAP labour

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Gates Horns

Talk about two evils...

Whilst I never held Bill Gates in high regard whilst he was actually in power at Microsoft, it would seem that their leadership is fast approaching a Chinese way of doing things in that the outgoing man never really gives up the reins and the new guy has tread very carefully to make sure he doesn't up set the grand daddy.

But this is a moot point. What I really want to say is I find it disturbing that whilst Bill has taken to be a philanthropist in his later years he seems to be using his new found reputation do gooder love to push through some pretty heinous ideas.

A. Using ID cards at all, in any country.

B. Getting India to involve MS in the scheme.

I can see the conversation going somewhat (between privacy concerned but easily swayed PM, slick as oil spin doctor, also in MS's pocket and Bill Gates wearing a bunny costume feeding the hungry):

PM: "We've been considering ways to combat the threats of terrorism for sometime now. My instinct tells me that we really shouldn't go down this ID card route but my advisors, hundreds of them, tell me differently. So I'm obliged to listen. What can MS do for us?"

Bill: "Well, lets skip the tech specs and all the details, it's in the report in your hands. As you know, we have a reputation for everything being as tight as a clam at Microsoft. Software never leaks, when it's shipped it's secure as the Titanic's hull and if there's a competitor that's doing it cheaper, it's ok, we will have bought them before you noticed" bill as he cradles another starving child, sweating in the heat through his bunny costume, my isn't he just so dedicated!

PM: "Oh, umm, yes. That's right. So, this report. I have read it and a few things concern me. Your projected costs for this scheme run at 30% of the governments actual budget for anything next year, do you forget, sir, that we our GDP is somewhat dwarfed but that of your homeland?"

Bill: "Well..."

PM:" Also, you go on to suggest that we should store everything on Azure, Microsoft's cloud technology, our entire populations, 1/6 of the world's personal information on Microsoft's servers outside of it's home country?"

Bill: "I can explain that..."

PM: " Last but not least, you seem to be somewhat of evangelist for this ID scheme. Are you really interested in this from an ethical point of view from beneath your guise of a born again philathro?"

Bill:"...."

at this the spind doctor grabs the president aside, barely containing his embarrassment at the candour of the PM.

SD"Sir I cannot believe you have just rebuffed Mr Gates so. That report was factually accurate as were Mr Gates words. He can really help us move forward in the fight against terrorism. Yes, we will be bled dry, but he is a visionary. He didn't say that the internet would amount to nothing and there was no future in it, that was those bunch of polo neck wearing chumps over in Cupertino."

PM: "This is very bad, I think we need to look internally, to the talent we have at home, create jobs, learn and grow our own way. We have sooooo much computing talent here it is unreal. Let's really innovate with this one. Who knows we might create a system that doesn't invade privacy, doesn't require a central database and doesn't evoke vision of a future from 1984. I mean, I wouldn't want my future, run by a government, would you?"

SD: " Sir, he's wearing a bunny costume "

PM:" Awwww ". The PM is jolted out of his reverie; " No, I won't allow us to waste billions on something we could make history of doing ourselves"

SD" Siiiirrrr. he's donated millions, if not billions to charities to help feed some of the world's hungriest people. A large amount of those in desperate poverty which are here, in our own country!"

PM:" It tears me, but that is a seperate problem, something we have to try and sort out in a more efficient way, with reform and not handouts"

SD: "Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir, his company outsources every single one of his technical support staff to this country. If they decided to pull back their borders and relocate, we would be left with catastrophic unemployment and a huge part of the economy would be lost, god forbid, he might move them all to Bangladesh!"

PM: " It would seem then my hands are tired. Like me with my advisers," turns to Bill Gates

"Well Mr Gates, it would seem I am in a position to accept your proposal. We will of course need to go through a formal tender process with other companies but we'll provide you with the right information so the tender becomes yours for the highest possible funding. Here are the bank details to the government coffers, take what you need, we'll adjust our budget accordingly. There's some KY over there if you wanted to get the deed over and done with now."

The point is, it's in situations like this where ethics and morals can so easily be subverted. A man as economically evil and aggressive as Bill Gates can never be overlooked just because he has sudden turned a new leaf, been dunked in the pool of houlier than thou juice or potentially donate to you some of the coffers from his first national bank of "Richer than God".

But it will happen, people will be swayed and old ways forgotten. Even if he is still actively seeking business for his bastard child.

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FAIL

Bad for the rest of the world? really?

Just how is India going to build it's economy if all of their educated people move to the US? At least with outsourcing India can reap the tax benefits and the money gets spent in the country that trained them.

Stricter immigration controls are only bad for the US but great for everyone else.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Come to America...

... where they out-source your job to India!

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Gates Horns

USA has no smart people

Bill Gates has no loyalty to the population of the USA only to the extra-national organisations called euphemistically 'big business'.

Cannot a nation, previously applauded for its innovation but now derided only for its fraudulent debt, with a population of 300 million nurture smart people from its own ranks? Gates seems to be saying no. Why?

There is no shortage of smart people in the USA. There is no shortage of IT skills in the USA; just a shortage of people with IT skills who are not smart enough to work out that the pay offered by companies requiring those skills makes the trade not worthwhile.

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Gates Horns

The human says no

'"It has always come back to the idea that 'the computer knows too much about you.'" Gates said.'

No Bill, it's always come back to the idea that this information will inevitably be abused and that any government and its associated State agencies aren't fit to manage it in a manner consistent with a free society, let alone maintain it securely.

Of course MS is licking its lips at the huge payday represented by idiot ID card schemes that would allow them to leach huge amounts of money from the taxpayer. India may have lots of smart people, but it also has millions living in abject poverty who would be far better served by spending this money on basic services and healthcare. So much for Bill's saintly aura of philanthropy, his words leave a very bitter taste in my mouth.

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FAIL

The Stupidity of Bureaucracy

It is easier to get in the United States illegally than legally. Furthermore, once you are in illegally, you can get all the services of a legal citizen or legal alien without paying taxes.

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Gates Horns

Gatinski the Illuminati man.

What a wicked and despicable legacy of the Khazan empire.

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Gates Horns

Double talk

Gates is telling India that it needs to move up the intellectual food chain while at the same time saying that America should be allowed to poach its best brains. Dipshit.

Anyhoo, calling on America do anything from a foreign country is obviously meant for local ears rather than American - he's just trying to smooch up to the Indians to get a piece of their ID card business.

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Big Brother

Gates is Big Brother

"Gates also told the audience he is 'very excited' about India's new government agency tasked with creating a national identity card for the country's 1.2 billion citizens starting in 2011. Gates said he's booked a meeting with the minister in charge of the project during his visit to discuss Microsoft's possible involvement. At the same time, Gates expressed disappointment in the US government's unwillingness to embrace a similar national ID program"

Now we know why all governments all over the world are so keen to introduce big-brother ID schemes and all-knowing databases. It's Microsoft and it's ilk lobbying hard (I wonder how many bribes are being handed out to politicians) so they can make huge profits while we lose our freedom.

This is another reason why I favour free open source software and particularly Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

American talent

Nope: reject imported slave_labor. Yep: M$ can compete and pay for American citizen talent.

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He wants Cheap Smart labor - Period!

Why pay someone in the US @ $80,000 a year, when you can hire someone in Bangalore for only $48,000.00 for the same work! Weeeeeee! 10 years now. Where is the India World competition? That's right! People in India are being USED. Not to COMPETE! One day they will riot after realizing they are just being terribly used & either stand up and compete already.. or just be kept as "labor cattle" for enterprise to keep abusing.. Wake up!

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Anonymous Coward

let me guess

These tough immigration laws are starting to affect Mr Gates profits by preventing him from hiring Indian developers for peanuts instead of the locals.

This should be an opportunity for India, not a problem. They have one of the largest software industries in the world, but don't actually produce anything themselves. All of these excess 'smart people' could be used to create a genuine alternative to Microsoft's software.

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FAIL

Double Faced

Gates thinks we should import the technically savvy yet simultaneously thinks other countries should elevate their own tech.

If we in the US don't allow these immigrants in doesn't that more likely keep them in their own country to further that region's technology?

Personally I feel we shouldn't make exceptions. Let the immigrants in whether they be shoeshine boys or 2nd cousin to Einstein, or don't let them in. Apply the same standard to all.

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India, we want your clever people

Or "Please, India, train up a bunch of your people and then they can emigrate to the US where we can pay them less penuts than the rather expensive home grown ones.". Perhaps the US is different but I thought that right now there were a shed load of unemployed technical people, so how about Bill does something to employ some of those rather than making their situation even worse.

Right then, out of pure spite I think I'll install some Linux on something.

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Gold badge
WTF?

Fuck you Microsoft

Microsoft, fuck you. They have been a long-time supporter of H1B visas, this is simply an attempt for them to avoid paying market rate for skilled employees. It makes companies like them look like sleazebags to support increased importation of workers in the computer industry when there are many locals out of work in that very industry.

The H1B was intended to allow people to be brought in country to work in areas of expertise there's a shortage of. The reality of the situation is there are large quantities of out-of-work people in the computer industry, while companies like Microsoft claim there's a shortage! What sleazy companies have been doing for years, to claim there's a shortage for H1B requirements.. they'll list a job as requiring like 15 years windows 2000 experience, cobol, fortran iv, hp-ux, aix, and sybase, $10/hour (for instance). If someone said "Oh well I have *16* years experience", they will say "Oh, sorry this job needs 15 years not 16 *click*". Then they can say no-one met the requirements, farm it out to a company that claims to have an *exact* match. This person then comes to the states, with dollar signs in their heads from hearing what they will be paid, only to have a rude surprise that that pay just covers food and rent, and is in fact very low.

If they were using this properly and as intended, I'm sure there'd be a few experts they'd like to hire from all over the world. But there's 85,000 H1B visas a year available, there's no way there are THAT many experts in the field.

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Flame

Greedy B******

Yes Bill, This is just what developing nations need. They put what scant resources they have into training their best, to improve their nation, only to see it bugger off overseas at the first chance it gets? So that global corporations can make even bigger profits. You, and your ilk, are a leech on humanity Bill Gates. You can divert attention away from your mountains of money with your "charitable work" (all tax deductible) , but you are a cause of third world misery. However it is not just limited to the third world. In the UK we train thousands of doctors and nurses, not at their expense, but at the cost to the public purse, the tax payer, me, my friends, my family, the people. Only to see them disappear abroad for fatter pay checks, as they owe it to them selves to get the best they can for themselves, never mind the people who financed them through it. I'd permanently exile the lot.

Your wealth is an afront to all mankind. And please don't say it is about having a popular product. Your products are monopolistic, over priced, bug ridden, never finished shite, So STFU Gates.

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WTF?

Bill Gates Wants more CHEAP programmers

IT unemployment at all time highs and Bill Gates doesn't want to pay U.S. Citizens for their work! I bet he quit school because he couldn't pass the ethics and good management class!

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Anonymous Coward

Brown Nosing

Talk about a suck up!!!

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Anonymous Coward

The problem is one of taxation and nationality

Remove taxation and nationality and then who cares, only the people whose jobs are dependent on taxation and nationality, the rest of us are quite happy to work under those conditions it means we can charge the market rate and be charged the market rate for living.

See, any element of protectionism has a knock on effect, it is all interrelated. Just look at any element of it: college fees, much higher in the US than India, so most students in the US have huge debts to pay that they took out with the idea that there would be jobs to pay off those debts, if you remove those jobs then should they get a college refund? Were they miss sold a college education?

It really is either a protected system or no protection anywhere, there is no middle ground here, the only compromise is in the levels of protection over a certain amount, but you cannot create a sacrificial lamb without repercussions throughout all your economy.

India would be better served keeping their intelligent people to improve India, and the US has to do something for the average person, because they are in the majority, an intelligent person would realise this.

Gates is being selfish, as per normal, and he wants to pay less for intelligent people, because he will then make a higher profit by reducing costs, big surprise, but he doesn't take into account the opportunity cost both to America and India.

And are they really that intelligent, he is probably using that as well to try and spin the intelligent people are not available in the US as some sort of selfish meme, when in fact the US probably has intelligent enough people, just not as cheap as the ones from abroad.

All he does is think what is best for him, now that is fine if he doesn't wrap it up objectively by calling it a huge mistake, more correctly it is just a mistake for him.

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the computer?

"It has always come back to the idea that 'the computer knows too much about you.'" Gates said.

Surely, 'lack of data control means that the government, commercial agencies, and who-knows-who-else will be able to learn too much about you'? Seeing him palming the issues off onto people's fear of 'the computer' doesn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm. :/

People don't object to a lack of privacy because they don't understand the issues, they object to it precisely because they _do_ understand them.

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Immigrants/ work visa holders/ cheap labor?

While in general I agree with Bill on this one (why are we opening our doors to anyone with a pulse when we should be skimming off those with the skills/ education/ talent to be true contributors? Amnesty- seekers trying to escape hate- /discrimination- based prosecution excepted, of course), I suspect he's more about cheap[er] labor for him than any greater good.

I knew someone en route to a Ph.D. in electrical engineering (and had many international students as classmates) who said that the problem is not a lack of qualified American engineers in the field, but that many of them have the gall to demand salaries that Microsoft and others deem "too high" (in other words, more than overseas imports would require). So the corporations cry "not enough homegrown talent" to the Immigration folks so that the number of H1B visas (for imported finite- term labor) will be increased. SInce this is not my world I don't know how true this is, but given that labor has more often than not gotten the shit end of the plunger from management, I'm inclined to believe it until evidence to the contrary surfaces.

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Human Trafficking

Before even more human trafficking, how about :-

1) Employing bright people from your own country.

2) Answer how it is not racism to perpetuate the myth that people from India must be brighter than those at hand in your own country (the majority of whom are not of Indian descent).

3) Consider whether countries such as India should really have their own bright people taken away from them.

Gate's real agenda is for cheap labour.

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Black Helicopters

Double Whammy

Microsoft and ID Cards - what a field day ! Let the comments begin !

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Anonymous Coward

wondering

Everyone loves to hate bill - but how much have opensource leaders (as individual people) given to good causes?

Big bad he did - dominate computer market by making a few smart moves. Boo hoo.

Good he's done, hundreds of millions given to various shemes around the world.

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Badgers

He's right on one hand, and wrong on the other.

I agree that the US government probably does make immigration too difficult, and in doing so denies the US some useful people.

However, I don't think a great big computer ID database is even remotely a good idea; I can't see how anyone would, unless you happen to own a lot of shares in a large computer company ;)

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Grenade

Replacing American engineers with low cost foriegn labor is a great idea. For Bill.

Lets replace Gates with a low paid foreign worker. Maybe Windows will have fewer bugs.

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Let's outsource Bill Gates' job

I've got an idea. If foreign workers are so smart and better. Let's outsource Bill Gates and Steve Balmer's jobs to people in India or where ever.

Oops, BG has a problem with that? Of course he does when it is HIS job that would be taken away. And by that, if you aren't hired because someone in another country can be paid less, that's a job you didn't get.

Should our pay go down? Maybe companies should make less money. Or should I say stock holders. Don't like that idea either? Of course not. You are probably a stock holder or are talking to stock holders like ... uh ... Bill Gates or people that wish they were him.

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What could possibly go wrong?

India's national ID database running on Windows servers?

Nothing could possibly go wrong there!

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Huge Mistake?

As long as US companies *INSIST* on hiring people from outside the US at least make them pay the current prevailing rate that US citizens get. It is the only fair way to do this. Also, companies cannot use the tricks that they have used in the past (see the YOUTUBE flick). It was a disgrace and as soon as the right people get "it" we should be seeing less of the bogus items that companies use to deflate wages. It is one thing to do this to say one small group but it is another thing completely to do this en-masse (like all programmers for instance).

The US Congress is being used as a pawn by MS and others to make sure them limits are high enough so they can import cheap labor. I could take the low road here but I will not. IBM mostly opens facilities on foreign soil to do this. It is good for IBM and good for the people involved. IMO there have been good successes but the few failures are notable disasters.

IBM has gotten the idea and is beating the system at both ends. While I will not say good for them as the IBM users are suffering the bad decisions.

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Gates Horns

would he be so against it...

....if he had to pay them the same wage as a local with the same qualifications?

bill gates as see through as a window(tm)

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Gates Horns

Hey, Willy

If all you want to hire are low-wage Indians, then just fucking move your company to India and let India be the new market for all your wares. Hope the art dealers enjoy your rupees as much as your dollars.

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Badgers

Mixing Business and Pleasure

His award, his charity, the vast amounts of money he has personally and corporately spent to resolve some of the worlds problems.. all comes to nothing when he goes on to say how he's excited about Indias ID card. He should not be there touting for business.

I'm actually waiting for the Google ID card to come out. There wont be any fuss because let's face it, they already actually DO know everything about you, the card itself is just a formality, we've been unwittingly "trusting" them with all our personal data for years.

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Gates Halo

Gates is right

We should be profusely thanking the Indian Government for providing, at no cost to the United States, so many young professionals.

Thousands of foreign doctors, predominantly Indian, willingly repeat their internship program in hospitals throughout the U. S. every year. Although young Indian doctors suffer from the God Complex, our teaching hospitals would have enormous difficulties meeting their quotas for new interns without them. Generally, their years of medical experience more than compensate for their difficulties in adjusting to American English. Many continue practicing long after completing their three year residency program. A few ultimately apply for citizenship.

Hopefully, our congressional "Health Reform" madness won't shut off this essential pipeline, and those that are already here will elect to remain.

I fear many of our Catholic Hospitals may close, because they have this unreasonable dislike for abortion, birth control and euthanasia, if/when nationalized medicine is implemented.

If we also lose our huge supply of off-shore doctors, I can't imagine how our Federal managers will be able to provide essential health services to our eighteen million illegal immigrants.

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Grenade

America has enough smart people who are unemployed.

I say this as someone who would want to live in America, but does not - the visa system does not need to be changed. There are plenty of really talented people in America who are also jobless, and I do not see how flooding the market with cheap immigrant labour is going to help them.

If the US insisted on an IQ test for all H1B visa applicants (including people on visas), I suspect a lot of people would be sent home. This isn't about intelligence - it's about getting the cheapest staff, because he does not want to pay the going rates to employ American engineers.

America would do itself a favour to keep itself exclusive. Do not let anyone and everyone in - Britain does that, and the horrific results are clear to see.

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Stop

Smart people NOT Cheap Labour

Hmm - I've worked with some great architects and developers from India however I have also seen some absolute dross.

The problem is he's actually probably wanting cheap labour - probably onshored in the US. This goes against promoting the homegrown smart people and possibly smart people from other countries.

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Happy

X

Well, maybe he can hire McKinnon.

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Flame

An idea

Can we outsource government agencies? Surely China has all our military secrets already ...

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Megaphone

EIC

India should not forget what happened with The British East India Company.

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Remarkable...

So many reg readers think Nationalist but still vote Globalist (for parties funded by and loyal to multinational companies).

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