Labor and tech companies battle over immigration reform studies

US flagOrganized labor and the technology industry are locked in a fight that is threatening to undermine the immigration bill currently before the US Senate.  At the centre of the argument is the question as to whether or not there is a shortage of US workers who have the science and math requirements necessary to work at technology companies such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Organized labor is pointing to a study that shows that the idea that such workers are scarce is nothing more than a myth, while the technology industry is pointing to different studies that insist the shortage is a matter of fact and a threat to the competitiveness of the United States if something does not change soon.

Talks continued over the weekend in a bid to try and reach a resolution to the argument over the high skilled US visas program that has become a sticking point for the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is aiming to vote on the immigration reform issue by the close of May.  If a deal is unable to be reached, tech companies could be alienated and they have told lawmakers that they may withdraw their support for the bill.

The AFL-CIO, however, says that the technology industry has become greedy and having already had an enormous influence on the immigration legislation are “trying to get more and more and more,” says their legislative representative Andrea Zuniga BiBetetto – noting that the study from the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates that only one in every two STEM students who graduate from US colleges are being hired by tech companies.