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Google speaks out on H-1B visas

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In a post on its public policy blog, on 5 June 2008, Google voiced its desire to see the U.S. government raise the "artificially low" H-1B visa cap. The Internet search giant submitted 300 H-1B visa applications in 2008, of which 90 were denied.

"As was the case last year, tens of thousands of highly skilled individuals hoping to work in the United States recently learned that they'll be unable to do so," said Keith Wolfe, Global Mobility Manager, along with Pablo Chavez, Senior Policy Counsel.

"About 163,000 H-1B applications were filed this year, significantly more than the 65,000 cap," they added. "Those lucky enough to win the H-1B lottery will be allowed to work in the U.S., but the rest will be turned away."

Immigration is a contentious issue in the United States, with the debate mainly centering on illegal immigrants. As a sideline issue, the H-1B visa program is often criticized for taking jobs from American information technology workers.

In response to criticisms that Google should hire more Americans, Wolfe and Chavez said that Google hires employees based on their skills and qualifications, not nationality.

"Many times our strongest candidates are Americans; in fact, about nine out of ten of our U.S.-based employees are citizens or permanent residents," they said. "But if we're to remain an innovative company -- one that is creating jobs in the U.S. every day -- we also need to hire exceptional candidates who happen to have been born elsewhere."

They noted that the incredibly popular Google News was created by an employee who was originally hired under the H-1B program.