Color Intel Exec Angry over EU's Blue Card Proposal, U.S. Inaction on Immigration

Ann All

Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, minces few words in his opinion piece regarding the European Union's so-called Blue Card.


In the piece, which was recently published in The Washington Post and other major newspapers, he lauds European leaders for advancing a plan to create a temporary but renewable two-year visa that should make it easier for foreign workers to seek employment in EU countries. In contrast, he writes, the current "byzantine system" in the U.S. "increasingly threatens America's long-term competitiveness" by making it difficult for companies like his to employ foreign-born professionals.


As I blogged back in October, Europe trails the U.S., Canada and Australia in attracting foreign workers to its shores. EU officials believe that making work requirements more consistent between its 27 member countries and increasing employment benefits will help change that.


While that may be true, a major hurdle still remains. The Blue Card proposal hasn't yet been approved by EU countries -- a fact that Barrett doesn't mention until the final paragraph of his piece. And approval is far from assured, as a story on Deutsche Welle makes clear.


According to the story, Germany's interior minister worries that the plan may result in the EU eventually imposing immigration quotas. The Czech Republic and Bulgaria want native workers to receive employment priority over immigrants. Several other countries are asking for clarification on elements of the proposal, and Britain has opted not to participate and introduced an alternate plan of its own.


In India, home to many workers with the kinds of engineering and technology skills that the Blue Card proposal seems designed to attract, interest from the IT industry has been "lukewarm," reports The Business Standard.


An executive from Satyam Computer Services tells the newspaper that Europe "is not a very glamorous proposition for Indians -- compared with being in India." The cost of living is generally higher in Europe than in the U.S., he says, and there are more language difficulties.


According to the Economic Times, Indian officials would like the EU to include Blue Card provisions specific to India, such as waiving proposed requirements for a minimum one-year work contract and certain salary requirements.

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Dec 29, 2007 1:29 PM Weaver Weaver  says:
Thanks to Ms. All for setting the record straight on the EU Blue Card proposal. Craig Barrett claims he employs about 2000 H-1Bs and he is at the end of his wits. Granted, he actually produces tangible goods, instead of the vast majority of H-1B employers who specialize is offshore labor arbitrage. Here are some other options for Mr. Barrett to consider.Un-capped Non Immigrant visas 2006:O-1 Person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, art, education, business, or athletics = 6,961B-1 Temporary visitor for business = 56,432B-1 B-2 Temporary visitor for business and pleasure = 3,053,636L-1 Intracompany transferee (executive, managerial, and specialized personnel continuing employment with international firm or corporation) = 72,613The numbers above are preliminary from travel.state.gov -- InfoWorld reports that the recent count L-1 visas awarded were under-reported and the numbers are actually well over 300,000 per year, for the past several years. Even with the huge backlog (1.2 million H-1 & L-1 guestworkers and family) for employment based PERM visas, about 13,000 were awarded at foreign service ports. H-1b's are capped at 85,000 yet, here's the prelinimary number for 2006...2006 H-1B = 135,421The H-1B number includes Educational, Non-profit and Gvt. exemptions, but it would seem that displaced IT workers could be retrained to work in these vocations.The EU Blue Card would be a great idea if it was targeted at the one million or so American IT workers displaced by H-1, L-1 and BPO.Pay attention EU, American IT workers could be very motivated in an effort to destroy Oracle's and Microsoft's market-share. Creative destruction... fair is fair! Data source: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/FY06AnnualReportTableXVIA.pdf Reply
Dec 31, 2007 2:42 PM Rob Sanchez Rob Sanchez  says:
Craig Barrett and his cigar chomping friends at the WTO are just using the blue card as a propaganda ploy in order to erase borders. It's a sham. Go here to read why:http://www.capsweb.org/newsroom/opinion_releases/sanchez_blue_card.html Reply

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