“There will probably have to be some regulation at some stage, but that’s less important to me. What can they count on from us in terms of incentives. . .to generate talent, to facilitate investors to come in and support these fledgling investors,” he continued.
To that end, Gray said his administration plans to meet quarterly with members of the local tech community to discuss policy goals, having done so once last February at the headquarters of Personal in Georgetown.
Executives from 100 of the nation’s leading technology companies and trade associations sent a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders last week, urging them to pass legislation that would make it easier for highly skilled immigrants to remain in the United States.
Tech companies have long pushed for changes to the way the country doles out visas to those with advanced degrees in science, technology, math and engineering. Advocates say these individuals can fill current job openings and have the potential to create their own businesses.
“Five high-tech companies alone — IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm — have combined 10,000 openings in the United States,” the letter states. “Each one of these jobs has the potential to create many others, directly and indirectly.”
But reform has been slow in part because many other interest groups want Congress to pass comprehensive reform that addresses immigrants at all economic and educational levels. The issue gained renewed traction following the influential turnout of Latino voters in the last presidential election.
Last week’s letter is signed by industry and trade association heads from the likes of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Zynga, Oracle, Panasonic and Intel.
Local signatories included Revolution investor and ex-AOL Chairman Steve Case, iBiquity Digital chief executive Robert Struble, Consumer Electronics Association president and chief executive Gary Shapiro, outgoing National Venture Capital Association President Mark Heesen, Spinnakr founder Michael Mayernick and iStrategyLabs chief executive Peter Corbett.