ESA lobbies Congress to help import some talent

There’s an old joke about Mexico and the Olympics: the reason Mexico can’t field an Olympic team is that every Mexican who can run, jump, and swim has already immigrated to the United States. That’s about the extent of my immigration joke repertoire — I’m more of a “pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen” kind of guy — but it seems that the Entertainment Software Association wants to make it a bit easier for programmers of all nationalities to work and live in the United States.

When it’s not busy hemorrhaging members, the ESA lobbies on behalf of its member companies. During the April-June period, the trade association monolith spent $980,000 lobbying congressmen on a variety of issues, most of them predictable: constitutional concerns, trade agreements, and the governance of virtual worlds. One of the more unusual points of contention, however, was immigration.

Specifically, the ESA wants Congress to raise the number of H1-B visas it grants to immigrants, allowing them to work in the United States for up to six years. A representative told GameSpot that “it’s important to keep highly skilled workers here in the US. Many of these innovative professionals create the software that our publishers and developers use, and many of them can’t stay in the US because there aren’t enough H1-B visas for them.” 

As a consumer, I’m obviously happy for an influx of talent and innovation, no matter where it was born. However, are any of you hopeful developers and designers looking forward to even more competition in an industry that is already notoriously hard to break into?

[Via GameSpot]

Joseph Leray