Laszlo Bock Testifies on Immigration at House Judiciary Cmte

Uploaded by Google on 06.06.2007


Madam Chair, Ranking Member King, Members of the
Committee, it's a great pleasure to be with you this
morning to talk about the impact of immigration policies
on Google and the technology industry as a whole.
My name is Lazio Bock, and I'm the vice president of People
Operations at Google.
I'm responsible for Google's global efforts to attract,
develop, and retain the most talented employees, wherever
we may find them.
I'm pleased to appear before you to help the committee
better understand the practical impact that our
immigration system has on Google.
Google's positive experience with American immigration
policy dates back to our very inception.
Our search engine began as a shared idea in the minds of
our company's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Sergey's own parents, and he himself, fled the Soviet Union
in 1979 when he was six.
A first-generation American, he is now one of the most
successful entrepreneurs in the world.
In fact, Google is just the most recent success story for
immigrants in Silicon Valley, Intel, eBay, Yahoo!, Sun, and
many other companies were all founded by immigrants who were
welcomed by America.
And within Google, there countless examples of
immigrants and non-immigrant foreign workers playing a
vital role in our company.
H1B visa holders have helped lead the development of Google
News and Orkut, our social networking site.
Immigrants from countries like Canada, Iran, and Switzerland
now lead our business operations, our global
marketing, our global business development, and our data
infrastructure operations.
Without these talented employees and others, Google
and the high-tech industry as a whole would not be the
success it is today.
I'd like to note that I too am an immigrant to America.
My parents came here when they fled communist Romania when I
was a child.
My mother is here with me today.
I cannot begin to tell you what a proud moment this is
for her and a humbling one for me.
In my testimony this morning, I'd like to make three points.
First, Google's success absolutely depends on
attracting the best and brightest employees.
Second, hiring and retaining the most talented employees,
regardless of national origin, is essential to the United
States' ability to compete globally.
And, third, companies like Google would benefit from
improving our policies toward non-US workers, including in
the area of H1B visas, so we can continue
innovating and growing.
First, I'll talk about the role that our
employees play at Google.
People are our most vital competitive asset, and the
single most important ingredient to ensuring our
future growth and success.
Our strategy is simple, we hire great people, and we
encourage them to make their dreams a reality.
In the knowledge-based economy, companies large and
small depend primarily on their employees for success.
America's edge depends on the ability of US companies to
innovate and create the next generation of must-have
products and services.
And that ability to innovate and create in turn depends on
having the best and brightest workers.
Today, approximately 8% of Google's employees in the US
are here on six-year H1B visas.
These Googlers currently span 80 different
countries of origin.
So while 9 out of 10 of our employees are citizens or
permanent residents, our need to find the specialized skills
required to run our business successfully requires that we
look at candidates from around the globe.
It's no stretch to say that without these employees, we
might not be able to develop future revolutionary products
like the next Gmail where the next Google Earth.
And let me share two examples.
Orkut Buyukkokten was born in Turkey.
He joined Google through the H1B visa program and was
responsible for developing our social networking service
which is called, you guessed it, Orkut.
Krishna Bharat, a native of India, joined Google in 1999
through the H1B program, was one of the chief creators of
Google News, and is now our principal scientist. Without
Orkut and Krishna and many other employees, Google would
not be able to offer innovative and useful new
products to our users.
Now, let me turn to the issue of how our immigration system
affects our ability to compete with the rest of the world.
We believe that is in the best interests of the United States
to welcome into our workforce talented individuals who
happen to have been born elsewhere rather than send
them back to their countries of origin.
But this doesn't mean we don't recruit here in the US or that
American workers are being left behind.
On the contrary, we're creating jobs here in
the US every day.
But we're not the only ones recruiting talented engineers,
scientists, and mathematicians.
We're in a fierce, worldwide competition for top talent
unlike ever before.
As companies in India, China, and other countries step up
efforts to attract highly-skilled employees, the
US must continue to focus on attracting and retaining these
great minds.
So what does my day-to-day experience as Google's People
Operations leader teach me about what our country should
do to retain the best and brightest?
First, and most importantly, each and every day, we find
ourselves unable to pursue highly-qualified candidates
because there are not enough H1B visas.
We would encourage Congress to significantly increase the
annual cap of 65,000 H1B visas to a figure more reflective of
the growth rate of our technology-driven economy.
Over the past year alone, the artificially low cap on H1B
visas has prevented more than 70 Google candidates from
receiving H1B visas.
Beyond increasing the H1B visa cap, we also believe that
Congress should address the significant backlog in
employment-based green cards for highly-skilled workers.
In conclusion, as Congress considers the various
immigration proposals before you, we hope you will consider
Google's experience as well as the important role that our
immigration policies play in ensuring that the US remains
the world's high-tech leader.
Thank you.