Political rhetoric is dominated by the "othering" of immigrants. In this episode, we look at how immigration benefits higher education, the I.T. industry and the U.S. as a whole.
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Dave Kelso: Hi. Welcome to OnlineVisas.com: The Immigration Show. Today we're going to talk about how immigration is good for America.
Jon Velie: It is.
Dave Kelso: I'm your host, Dave Kelso, here with CEO of OnlineVisas.com, Jon Velie. Jon, how are you today?
Jon Velie: I'm great, Dave, how are you?
Dave Kelso: Well, I was reading online, there is a new poll that says a large number of Americans, 50% in the polling survey, think that food is the best thing about immigration. Have you ever been to Portland, Oregon?
Jon Velie: I have not.
Dave Kelso: There's a big food truck community in Portland, Oregon. There are a lot of immigrants in Portland, Oregon, and there is a city block there where it is like everybody in town goes to lunch. You can almost eat your way around the entire world and I had eaten my way across most of Northern Africa and was turning into Southern Europe when I just couldn't eat any more. I was laying there in a food coma, I thought, "This is what's really great about this country, is that it is one of the only countries in the world where you can get sort of some of everything from everywhere all in one place. I love immigration."
Dave Kelso: Now, if you look a little bit further into this YouGov poll, you find out that a large number of Americans think that immigration is a net benefit to the United States. And it seems to me there has been an awful lot of political rhetoric, maybe "othering" of immigrants lately. You've written quite a bit about the benefits of immigration in your blog to OnlineVisas.com. One of the unintended economic consequences of the IT boom, you point out, is that something like 2.6 jobs are created for every immigrant with a STEM degree. Now, can you tell me more about some of these economic benefits?
Jon Velie: Well, the 2.6 is sort of a small number, also. Let's back up on why those visas create jobs for Americans. Right now, America has the best universities in the world. If you look at the U.S. World and News Report ... I think I got that backwards, U.S. News and World Report, they ranked the universities in the world. In the top 10, eight of them are American universities. Only Oxford and Cambridge are in the top 10, and they're ranked six and seven. If you keep going down, you're going to see more and more American universities.
Jon Velie: The foreign nationals are sending their best and their brightest to our schools to Americanize themselves and enter into our job market. Now, that's been going down lately, by the way. We've seen a 20 to 25% decrease in Indians and Chinese coming to America universities, which is hurting our universities. Out-of-country tuition is the most expensive tuition, especially at state schools, where American students are funded to go to those schools.
Jon Velie: So here we've got a decreasing deal, because they're finding it harder to stay in the United States. But when they did, and these statistics show, for every visa, H-1B Visa in particular that is a STEM-based skilled visa or professionalized visa, it was creating more jobs for Americans than the numbers. In smaller companies we're seeing that number, for every one H-1B it's hiring up to seven Americans. Now think about it. You're bringing in a tech or techies that are going to drive and build some sort of technological part of your company. Now, maybe you're a tech company that builds these applications for others, or maybe you're just any company that's using technology and needs to add developers, programmers, architects, all those-
Dave Kelso: IT guys.
Jon Velie: ... IT guys. You still need to have salespeople, managers of those folks, the six-figure jobs that are overlooking the talent coming in. All those are jobs being created by bringing this talent for us to not only do what we need to do but lead the world in the industry of technology and education and medicine, and almost anything else that technology touches. Financials, the whole financial industry is based on financial tech right now. Those are all people that are coming to our universities, coming to our job force, that are creating jobs for Americans.
Jon Velie: And right now, America politically is making that harder. Every year it's getting harder. Every year since this new administration has come in, they're finding new techniques to lower the amount of approvals and to reduce the amount of people coming. And what's happening is those jobs are leaving America. It's not just the foreign nationals that can't come in, but the jobs of the manager or the salesperson or the marketer that was part of that company. Those jobs are following the foreign workers and companies back overseas.
Dave Kelso: And never mind the guy that mows the lawn or the clerk at the grocery store or the person who rented them an apartment or the automobile mechanic, all of the other sort of other jobs that are associated with you just being around.
Jon Velie: Tech company leaves your town, all the jobs go with them. The guy selling the cars doesn't do that anymore. The tax money going to the schools. All of that happens. And all you're saying that most Americans believe that immigration is a good thing, yet our leaders are using fear or drawing on the fear of those scared to make all immigration bad, not just those coming across our borders that would do bad things. That's not the case at all, and that's what's happening.
Jon Velie: We really need to change the dialogue, Dave. The dialogue about immigration is wrong right now. The dialogue is, "Let's find anecdotal evidence of a bad thing that somebody from another country did, so that we can cast a net over everybody else that's from that nation, or just isn't from our nation." That is just the wrong way to look at it. And the stats don't even merit it.
Dave Kelso: No, the stats tell quite a different story. We're talking with Jon Velie, the CEO of OnlineVisas.com, and we're talking about how immigration is good for America. According to some of your blogs here at OnlineVisas.com, immigrants started 28% of all new US businesses but made up just 12.9% of the US population. That's driving an enormous amount of our economy. In your article Unintended Consequences of Changes on H-1B Immigration Policy, approximately two-thirds of requests for H-1B Visas are from science, technology, engineering, and math.
Jon Velie: That's right, yeah. Look, that type of education is just not what our kids typically do. I can't take a math class or a science class and do very well. At the school I went to, The University of California Berkeley, most everybody in those classes were from other countries, including the teacher. I had a roommate, Edwin Chu, who got his first B in some four or five-syllable scientific class, and he called his dad in tears. I mean, this was the American dream for Edwin to come and do well. And he has, but his sense of failure was never even getting a B. It was As only on his way. We didn't share that mentality, the rest of us.
Dave Kelso: Well you know, just to respond and play devil's advocate to that, somebody might say that we now are giving American kids an opportunity to go pursue those degrees, because America frankly needs to grow in that department. Please respond.
Jon Velie: Well, I'd like to. Thank you for that. Number one, we're not a country that needs to be babied. Competition has made our country great. We as employers, American companies, need to be able to hire the best people we can. We should not be told by our government that you can only hire this person, even though they're less qualified than the other person to get that job. That should not be their role. That is way too hands-on. It's way too intrusive. And it should be easier, or it should at least be consistent, in making those decisions. Making immigration harder for the sake of helping an American that isn't as good as somebody else just shouldn't be in our situation.
Jon Velie: Also, the facts don't merit that. I mean, we have a negative unemployment rate in some of our cities for tech workers. We have American companies with open jobs for their tech workers. There are some people that should not be employed. Maybe they're going through drug problems or just economic or emotional messes, and you should not be bound to hire that person just because they're an American. Now, we're looking at an unemployment rate in American of like sub-3% now, or around that percentage. That means everybody that wants to be employed is probably employed, and we need more people.
Jon Velie: Let's think about this, for example. The baby boomers are exiting our workforce every single year. They're retiring. We don't have enough American-born people to replace them, not just in the bad jobs, if that's what they are, people picking lettuce or digging ditches or things that most Americans don't want to do.
Dave Kelso: But the managerial jobs that the baby boomers are leaving.
Jon Velie: I'm talking about good jobs, jobs that keeps companies open. It's a lot easier to tear something down than to build it, and we've built the strongest economy in the world. And we've had that for a long time. We're leading the GDP across the world. We can destroy that by making it really, really hard to work here. We can destroy that by taking away the EAD card from the spouses of H-1B workers, because it's going to make that H-1B worker either have to divorce his spouse or go back home. And it's just mean-spirited, and it does have any benefit. There aren't that many people in that position. But that's the kind of negative policy that we're seeing from our government that I don't think really merits how Americans look at foreign nationals.
Jon Velie: And it's not limited to, "They make great burritos or excellent Thai food." Now, we all love that, and there's a lot of visas around the food industry. We can get people E Visas to invest in American companies from certain countries. We can get L Visas where a Brazilian steakhouse opens up a place in the United States and sends people over for that. I mean, we can do really excellent things. EB-5, where you can invest a half a million or a million dollars into ethnic restaurants in the United States, or other companies or other types of industries as well. So there's all sorts of great things that we can do to go forward and not be locked in on this fear that all immigrants are bad.
Dave Kelso: Right. If you would like to join this conversation, we would like to hear from you. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel. There's a link here just below. Follow us on Facebook. You can catch this podcast, like and share with your friends. Immigration is good for this country. Jon, why don't you tell them how somebody can schedule a strategy session with you and talk about visas?
Jon Velie: Well, go to OnlineVisas.com. We have almost 2,000 people a day coming to our site, and we're really excited about that. We're leading a lot of the search engines on the visa-specific area, so if you're looking for how to get an E-2 Visa or how to get an H-1B or an L-1, you can go there and find out. We have videos there, we have a lot of content, lots and lots of articles that we write. We're putting these up there as well. But if you want to have a strategy session about your specific situation, go on, set up an appointment. We'll get back in touch with you, find a time that works out with us both.
Jon Velie: And then we can talk about what are you going through? Are you an employer that wants to hire a foreign national? Are you a foreign national yourself who wants to find out what your visa options are? We'll tell you whether or not you meet those qualifications, which particular visas you might want. And then we'll tell you how much it costs and how long it takes. We do flat fee, so you'll know going in what it'll be. And we'd be glad to work with you and are interested to hear your story and where you're coming from and what your dream is about coming to America. Thanks.
Dave Kelso: Let's change the dialogue. That's Jon Velie, CEO of OnlineVisas.com. I'm your host, Dave Kelso. Thanks for watching the OnlineVisas.com The Immigration Show.
Jon Velie: See you next time.