Laszlo Bock Testifies on Immigration at House Judiciary Cmte
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Laszlo Bock Testifies on Immigration at House Judiciary Cmte

November 18, 2019

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.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. immigration is going to be the most debatable topic for the 2008 elections, next to the middle easts wars.

    basically this is google the biggest online site in the world addressing the issue. taking on congress head on. not many companies are willing to do that. standing up for the little guy

    very bold move Google.

  2. Excellent speech. Hopefully most of the congressmen were awake and paying attention. The immigrants who came over in the last major wave over a hundred years ago made America what it is today. Yet they were crapped on and the US policy shut down this huge resource. Now we are going to make the same mistake again.

  3. An illegal immigrant is simply undocumented, but is in no way a criminal due to his/her immigration status. There is a difference between illegal and criminal. please use the two words correctly, as they are NOT interchangeable.

    thank you

  4. To those xenophobes commenting in the thread. Want a job at Google? Apply. Otherwise, GTFO and let foreigners take the jobs.

  5. "illegal immigrant" is not even a real term. it's technically illegal alien. "undocumented" is a term used to downplay the actions of someone who broke the law. they are in the country with unlawfully, hence ILLEGALLY. anybody can be "undocumented", i can be an "undocumented" driver, if i'm not licensed to drive.

  6. ahhh! we can't find enough americans (who will work cheap enough) to work for us! "we're creating jobs here in america everyday", yea, hoping they'll someday be filled by cheap, foreign workers, haha.

  7. Laszlo Bock you rock! We are all from Pangea! google shares its applications worldwide, so it makes sense to allow "googlers" around the world to work for google…Google shares, u.s. should too … If you disagree please watch "The Immigration Debate" video, it has a great positive outlook on immigration :).

    Here is the link
    copy this after youtube *dot* com/?v=YhEl6HdfqWM
    or simply type "the immigration debate" *made by super news

  8. not here to involve in an argument just to get the facts right…
    Kavitark Ram Shriram "Google's sherpa" – true
    he also "formed the DNA of the entire company" – true.
    The guy who wrote the 100K cheque was Andy Bechtolsheim, the founder of Sun Microsystems.
    (the market mostly regard Bechtolsheim as the principle investor in Google. Shriram's financial involvement is mysterious)

  9. USA needs a good educational system, and less financial strain on its people so they have the time an resources to educate themselves. Housing costs and the very prosperity of cash into check places (people being so tight on funds they have to borrow for 2 weeks in advance) are the biggest obstacles. Once everyone feels secure, they can start turning their attention to realizing their dreams, or even having dreams in the first place. Most people right now dream of winning the lottery.

  10. I am proud of Laszlo and his family. His parents fled from my hometown with two toddlers from communist Romania, during the Ceausescu regime. They came with nothing to this country. He makes all of us Hungarians from Romania proud.   Thank you Laszlo and God bless you!

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