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Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt Calls Limiting H-1B Work Visas America’s ‘Stupidest Policy’

May 5, 2017, 6:43 AM UTC

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet (GOOG), calls the Trump administration’s proposed restrictions on H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers “the stupidest policy in the entire American political system.”

According to CNBC, Schmidt said during his Wednesday appearance at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab that such restrictions could hamper the competitiveness of American firms.

“We want the best people in the world, regardless of any form of sex, race, country, what-have-you,” he said. “We want them to work for us and not our competitors.”

Widely used in Silicon Valley, H-1B visas allows companies to hire foreigners in specialty fields like science, engineering and IT. Major H-1B employers include outsourcing companies like Infosys and Cognizant.

The U.S. should be organized “to be the most attractive place for those people,” argued Schmidt. He added that “stupid policies” that hold American firms back from competing fairly for this pool of talent “are antithetical to our mission [and] the things we serve.”

Despite President Donald Trump signing a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which proposed changes to the H-1B system, application quotas for fiscal year 2018 were reached within a week of the process’s opening.