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O.C. TECH BEAT

Jobs Flow Both Ways in Wake of NAFTA

April 12, 1999|JONATHAN GAW

The cross-border flow of jobs caused by the North American Free Trade Agreement runs both ways, technology companies are finding.

With high-tech salaries soaring domestically and visas to bring in workers from abroad in short supply, tech companies are turning to Canada and Mexico to fill their openings.

"We can get people here from Canada and Mexico in a couple of weeks, as opposed to six or eight," said Mary Weaver, chief executive and chairwoman of Data Processing Resources Corp. of Newport Beach, which has hired more than 40 people from Canada and Mexico in the last nine months. "The talent from Mexico is better than we had expected."

The technology industry last year lobbied hard to raise the number of immigrants it would be allowed to bring into the country, overcoming objections that the industry, given the number of silicon millionaires being created, is simply trying to find cheap labor.

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Jonathan Gaw covers technology and electronic commerce for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7818 and at jonathan.gaw@latimes.com.

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