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Tech Firms Push To Hire More Workers From Abroad

Publication Date: 
April 11, 2013
The New York Times - Technology
Somini Sengupta

Professor Dan Siciliano spoke with the New York Time's Somini Sengupta about the potential changes to immigration laws for highly educated tech workers from abroad and how the workers' visa status and skill level should be taken into account in regards to such policy changes.

Vishal Sankhla, an Indian engineer, is among those at the center of a storm over how to fix the nation’s immigration system.

Mr. Sankhla got a master's degree in electrical engineering nine years ago from the University of Southern California, followed by a job at Cisco, then at a start-up that attracted $4.5 million in financing from Silicon Valley investors. There was only one wrinkle: he was in the country on a temporary work visa, with no idea whether or when he would get permanent residence.

He remains in limbo, which preoccupies him almost as much as running his business. "It's a constant distraction," said Mr. Sankhla, who is 32. "You can’t really settle down because your visa status is uncertain."


"If you were the human resources vice president of the United States, you would want to have a rule that says if things get busy and you need skilled people you can bring in people," said Dan Siciliano, a law professor at Stanford. "At the same time you would want a way to bring highly skilled people in and perhaps at your choosing convert them to status that lets them stay much longer."