Those Not So Huddled High Tech Masses

Regarding your article "Give me your huddled...high-tech PhDs" (Social Issues, Nov. 6): In the last 20 years, the number of foreign workers has swelled to the point that any high-tech company without a significant Indian or Asian component would stand out markedly. The reason is not that insufficient U.S. personnel could be found but simply that foreign workers are often happy to work for fewer dollars. The balance of their compensation comes in the form mf the opportunity to remain in the U.S. They are satisfied, and their employers have done what businesses should do: minimize their costs. Neither the action of the workers nor the employers is illogical.

There is another effect of this practice that goes beyond displacing today's U.S. workers. One of the reasons I entered engineering is that even though getting an engineering education is rigorous, I could anticipate a higher-than-average income for my efforts. Now, I am confronted with competitors who accept as part of their compensation simply being allowed to work in the U.S. This is not unfair, per se, but it does mean that future U.S. students will find it less attractive to pursue engineering careers. It follows that it will become necessary to hire foreign workers, thus reinforcing this trend.

If society wants to maintain opportunities in high tech for U.S. students, the playing field will have to be leveled.

Don G. Reid

Round Rock, Tex.

Nothing could be further from the truth than the theory that jobs are being "taken away" by immigrant workers. In a knowledge-intensive business like the information-technology industry, the intellectual standing of the individual far outweighs the cost of labor.

In the changing economic landscape, where the world is becoming more and more of a global village, it is imperative that parochial issues like country of origin take a backseat and "brainpower" becomes the key enabler for the growth of the industry and economy. The industry should continue to tap the best and brightest regardless of their country of origin and actually get global in their recruitment strategy.

Shiv Kumar

Stamford, Conn.

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