Earlier today, Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corporation, voiced his concerns over what he considers faulty immigration policies in a presentation to the U.S. Congress. In a statement given to the House of Representatives’ Science and Technology Committee, Gates remarked that the current U.S. immigration system limits U.S. technology corporations’ ability to recruit and retain highly skilled immigrants.
“As a result [of restrictive immigration legislation], many US firms, including Microsoft, have been forced to locate staff in countries that welcome skilled foreign workers to do work that could otherwise have been done in the United States, if it were not for our counterproductive immigration policies,” said Gates.
Gates specifically spoke about the restrictive cap placed on the H-1B Skilled Worker visa as the major limiting factor for U.S. technology companies. The current cap on these visas, set presently at 65,000, does not reflect the needs of the U.S. economy, said Gates, who pointed out that, last year, all 65,000 visas were filled up in one day.
“Last year, for example, Microsoft was unable to obtain H-1B visas for one-third of the highly qualified foreign-born job candidates that we wanted to hire,” said Gates.
“If we increase the number of H-1B visas that are available to US companies, employment of US nationals would likely grow as well…. Microsoft has found that for every H-1B hire we make, we add on average four additional employees to support them in various capacities.”