Silicon Valley is reportedly so heavily dependent on H1B visa holders that it might become a veritable ghost town if deprived of them — foreign tech employees are in fact the majority in Silicon Valley, according to the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project (SVCIP) Report.
An analysis of the 2016 census data by the Seattle Times also found that foreign workers account for 71% of workers in the San Jose area. Silicon Valley remains the “center of the tech universe,” the paper declared.
Outside of the Valley, just about every large technology center in the country relies more on foreign workers than domestic ones.
More than half of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers in the Valley are foreigners, with California natives accounting for barely 18% of the workforce.
In New York City, 43% of STEM workers are from other countries, according to SVCIP researchers.
No doubt that most of these foreign workers have landed a job in the country through the H1B visa program. In fact, processing the H1B visa is very expensive, so only deep-pocketed companies can afford to make use of it.
“The H1B process is not just complicated — it’s also quite expensive to sponsor an H1B visa worker, a cost larger companies may be more willing to absorb,” says the Seattle Times.
The program has become so successful because the American hunger for talented technology professionals has remained insatiable. Thanks to the program, even Google and Apple have employed thousands of H1B visa holders at their campuses across the country.