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Google has added to calls for immigration authorities to allow more skilled foreign labour into the US, as the Mountain View firm struggles to keep pace with its own expansion.

The Googleplex despatched Laszlo Bock, its VP of People Operations (HR manager), to a congressional hearing on Wednesday to plead for more H1-B visas. The federal government caps the number of H1-B visas annually to 65,000. In the early 2000s it was as high as 195,000.

Bock said the restrictions had meant it had been unable to get work rights for 70 overseas candidates in the last year, and that it wouldn't have achieved its global dominance in search without significant input from immigrants, including co-founder Sergey Brin. There's video of the testimony at Google's official blog here.

The issue has been a tech industry cause célebrè for a while now: in his congressional testimony in 2005, Bill Gates called for the cap on H1-B visas to be removed altogether.

He said: "You can't imagine how tough it is to plan as a company where we say, 'let's have this engineering group and staff it'...we'll have Canadians waiting at the border until some bureaucratic thing happens where a few more [visa spots] get opened up. That's just wounding us in this global competition."

Recent surveys have shown that both US and UK graduates are queuing up for a spell in the Goolag, rating the ad broker at the top or near the top of their ideal employer lists. ®

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