Globe-Trotting Families Journey To The Bay Area, Going Where The Gigs Are

By Karen D’Souza
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) More than 70 percent of tech employees in the Valley are foreign born. But for many, the journey will not end there. Instead, they’ll put in a few years and then move on to the next country.

The Mercury News

Dad is from Poland, mom comes from the Philippines, and the kids think of Scotland as home. For now, they live in Fremont, Calif.

The globe-trotting adventure of the Kruczek family is one part of the story of H-1B and other visas that rarely gets told.

With the tech industry’s well known reliance on international workers, the corresponding rise in nomadic global families is changing not just the course of their lives, but also the nature of communities.

Highly skilled foreign workers with in-demand specialties come to the Bay Area, long one of the most diverse places in the country, for high salaries and career challenges and often bring their families with them.

More than 70 percent of tech employees in the Valley are foreign born, according to a report based on 2016 census data. But for many, the journey will not end there. Instead, they’ll put in a few years and then move on to the next country.

“Immigrants used to stay here or go back home, but the shifting economy has created a class of workers who are multinational. They are no longer tethered to one country,” said professor Anna Sampaio, a specialist in immigration and transnationalism at Santa Clara University. “They are really global workers.”

That economic shift, fueled by the tech sector, means these families often are prosperous and have little trouble keeping up with the high cost of living in the Bay Area. But they face other challenges, like new schools, new cultures, finding new friends and trying to fit in. Uprooting a whole family causes upheaval a single worker doesn’t have to grapple with.

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