On Apr 01 2009 by William A. Stock

The Real Impact of H-1Bs

There’s a great post by Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith on Microsoft’s public policy blog in favor of increasing the number of H-1Bs in the United States.  An amazing statistic:

While the number of visa holders is very small compared to the U.S.
workforce, their contribution is huge.  For example, last year 35
percent of Microsoft’s patent applications in the U.S. came from new
inventions by visa and green card holders. 

I’ve always said the H-1B visa was for “insourcing,” not “outsourcing” – and each H-1B worker here buys or rents a house, pays taxes, eats out, shops at Best Buy – so that sending talented people home makes no economic or policy sense.  The scope of the benefit beyond the immediate economic impact is breathtaking, though – what if 35 percent of Microsoft’s new products were developed in India, instead of Washington?