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Silicon Valley Poll: Seven in ten voters say highly-skilled immigrants have positive effect on Bay Area

SAN JOSE, CA – When it comes to highly-skilled immigrants, Bay Area voters take a strong positive view of their impact on the economy and our quality of life in the Bay Area. In a recent Silicon Valley Poll, seventy-eight percent of voters said that highly-skilled workers like H-1B visa workers positively impact the local economy, including 42 percent who said this impact is “very positive.”

Seventy-one percent of 1,843 voters polled in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties said they see them also positively impacting our quality of life. These findings were part of the Silicon Valley poll commissioned in May by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area News Group to address a variety of issues and attitudes in the Bay Area.

Perceived Impact of Highly-Skilled Immigrants in the Bay Area

(% Positive)

 All VotersPartyForeign bornTech Employee
Bay Area Economy78%80%82%64%82%83%77%
Quality of Life71%76%69%57%82%69%64%


A plurality of voters thought the number of H1-B visa holders should be increased or kept the same. However, the most intriguing view came from current tech workers between the ages of 18-49. Close to 50 percent of tech workers under 50 supports increasing the number of H1-B visa holders while 42 percent of workers over 50 would like the number to stay the same.

Regardless of age, current technology company employees are more likely to say the number of visas should be increased than are non-tech employees or former tech employees. “When you can replace a preconceived notion with a real-life person, the individual connection outstrips the preconceived ideology,” said CEO and President Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “When people meet each other, get know each other and work with each other it builds understating and you recognize the value they bring to the work environment.” More detailed poll findings and interviews are available by contacting Kimberly Ellis, SVP of Communications at (408) 501-7850 or [email protected].


The poll of 1,834 registered voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Bay Area News Group. The poll, conducted from May 5-14, has a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points. 

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