07 Apr Without H-1B Visa, NBA Would Have Played a Very Different Ball Game
Many arguments have been made about the advantages and benefits the H-1B visa have provided the American economy, but one fact still has to be mentioned. That pillar of American sports culture known as the National Basketball Association (NBA), would have played a very different ball game without the H-1B visa.
Immigration lawyer Jason Finkleman points out that since the early 1980s, players in the celebrated teams of the NBA had been born outside the United States. The San Antonio Spurs, which won the championship in 2014, had 67 percent of its players carrying H-1B visas. Today, the Spurs are still a hot favorite and again is contending for the championship, if they don’t succumb to the 2016 Western Conference finalist and heavy favorite, Golden State Warriors. The Spurs have five championship trophies.
If the Spurs win the coveted title again 2017, some of the credit will go to their foreign-born talents who compose 40 percent of the team. But like we said, the Golden State Warriors of Northern California, could win them all. In fact, the Warriors almost won last year if not for the injury of the Australian center, Andrew Bogut, who was sidelined during the NBA Finals. Zaur Pachulia of Tbilisi, Georgia, is now the center of the team.
One of our earlier blogs had advised global mobility specialists how to deal with the temporary stoppage of the expedited processing of the H-1B visa. This one is a reinforcement of the facts that Finkleman had ably put his finger on. There are definite advantages in allowing an H-1B visa to the United States. The NBA example is one powerful illustration of how one landscape — sports — would have been radically changed without the star players that it helped provide.
One report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that a ten percent increase in foreign talent entering the country equals a 3.3 percent increase in the number of patents received by that office. A patent actually reflects the registration of a new idea, innovation, or technology that is feasible for practical and commercial use. Given the right kind and amount of investors, it is ready for the research and the development stage. Upon culmination, that patent would have led to the birth of a new product or service that can improve the way we live, work, dine, and relate to each other.
Add to this the statistics cited by MinnPost which reports that one million immigrants or foreign-born talent have been entering the US every year for the past 25 years. They have rooted themselves in this country, gained lawful employment, bought property, sent their kids to our schools, and put up their own businesses. They pay taxes which go to our national coffers. The monies they put in have been instrumental in the annual increase of the country’s economic growth by 2 percent every year. The MinnPost makes a case that reducing the regular annual influx of those one million foreign talent can impact the steady 2 percent growth of the U.S. economy.
The leaders and workers in Silicon Valley, which has been responsible for introducing most of the technological breakthroughs that the world enjoys today, were the first to sound the alarm at the Trump administration’s amendment of the H-1B visa. According to the Washington Examiner, 37 percent of its workforce in Northern California have H-1B visas, and many of them are the engineers, software developers, and programmers who are probably on their way to inventing the next Facebook, Microsoft, or Apple. Steve Jobs’ biological dad was a refugee who fled to the United States to escape the horrors of war in his native country, Syria.
Finkleman had his numbers — and map — down pat. Make drastic changes to the H-1B visa and you risk transforming the landscape of American industry — and not necessarily in a good way. Just think of the NBA without the Spurs or the Golden State Warriors. We’re biased for the latter.