Microsoft willing to pay for the right to hire more foreign workers

By on October 1, 2012, 9:00 AM

Microsoft has come up with a solution that they think could help divert a potential employment crisis: pay the government for the right to hire more highly skilled foreigners. Redmond is petitioning Congress to grant 20,000 new H-1B visas and 20,000 more specifically for jobs in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The current cap is set at 65,000 for H-1B visas in addition to 20,000 reserved for foreign students that have received a masters degree or higher from a US-based university.

Microsoft is in a precarious position as they have 6,000 unfilled jobs in an economy where some Americans are having a tough time finding work. The problem that Redmond and several other companies are facing is that there simply aren’t enough high-skill workers in the US to go around.

It’s an issue that has been partially rectified in previous years by hiring foreign help but the growing number of technical job openings combined with a tight limit on the number of visas and green cards issued could be leading to what Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith describes as a genuine crisis.

Smith recently proposed that companies pay $10,000 per worker hired under a STEM-specific H-1B visa program and $15,000 for each green card given to foreign workers. It’s a move the VP believes could raise $500 million per year – money the government could then reinvest in STEM-specific educational programs in states that need it the most.




User Comments: 27

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1 person liked this | Ravey Ravey said:

Wouldnt it be easier and cheaper to invest in non-skilled workers and just pay for them to study at college/university?

I dont know if America has them but in England we have Apprenticeship/Internship schemes that allow young school leavers to gain a skill specific qualification while working at the same time.

Guest said:

Well no, because the foreigners are more skilled and experienced. Investing in non-skilled workers will teach them a thing or two, but their not experienced as the funniers out their that are working their butts off than more people in this country

Guest said:

Foreigners*

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

Wouldnt it be easier and cheaper to invest in non-skilled workers and just pay for them to study at college/university?

The investment that you describe would take several years (to put someone through college), and they would come out with no experience. Not only that, but it would cost them probably at least 40k for the investment in college tuition, and it's a gamble because there is no garauntee that the student will succeed. With the proposition from the article, they would pay $10-15k for a skilled, experienced worker.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

They should hire the ones from india that supposedly find malware on your pc.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

There are enough skilled workers in the US, Microsoft just wants to pay a lower salary.

1 person liked this | jake_leone jake_leone said:

Microsoft earns 244,000$ in profit for each worker, a one-time 10k fee is nothing to Microsoft.

Clearly, Microsoft, and many other tech companies (that have even higher profit per employee levels) can afford to pay more. It cost a great deal to get a University education in the United States (40,000$-80,000$ dollars).

Most people coming in on an H-1b are freshers with a bachelors degree, this has been shown in U.S. government stats on H-1b.

Why can't Microsoft just invest in education?

The reason it would cut into their profit levels.

Microsoft has grown weak and dependent on the U.S. government Visa programs. Microsoft and many other tech companies have lost their ability to train, develop, and retain talent, because they have not faced (and are unwilling to face) real competition for talent.

In the 80's and 90's companies invested in their workers. Many companies would put workers through a Masters program at Stanford or Berkeley, no more. These companies are addicted to a government handout, corporate welfare visa programs, as surely as any crack-addicted-welfare-deadbeat.

For more than 200 years, immigration to United States was supposed to be permanent, and under control of the person who had the willingness to come to the United States. With the advent of non-immigrant visas, corporation have hijacked and destroyed that process. In essence creating an indentured class of people.

1 person liked this | TheLip95032 TheLip95032 said:

This is crap, why doesn't MS just use the money to train Americans ? They just want slaves that can't change jobs. MS is looking more communistic everyday.

TheLip95032 TheLip95032 said:

Wouldnt it be easier and cheaper to invest in non-skilled workers and just pay for them to study at college/university?

The investment that you describe would take several years (to put someone through college), and they would come out with no experience. Not only that, but it would cost them probably at least 40k for the investment in college tuition, and it's a gamble because there is no garauntee that the student will succeed. With the proposition from the article, they would pay $10-15k for a skilled, experienced worker.

You wouldn't need to put people through college , just put them in a training program that teaches them to code. All the foreign workers here now just code what someone tells them to so it's not like it's brain surgery.

Guest said:

Bachelors degrees are irrelevant nowadays. Unless it is in a highly specialized field of course (coding not one of them).

Microsoft could use that 10,000 to 15,000 dollars and put it into the local community college. In my state instate tuition is like $65.00 a credit hour. IMHO that would be best the thing to.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

It is hard to understand what Microsoft is up to...

Here in Ireland we have the core of the Microsoft Azure team. And in the last few month a number of good specialists left the company because Microsoft decided to reduce their payments to adjust to the dollar-to-euro fluctuations.

Granted, Microsoft doesn't pay that much, thinking people will work for them just because they are Microsoft. And many do, but only for as long as they care about that. It doesn't pay to stay long with the company, if all you wanted is to have MS listed in your CV to secure a better paying job.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

MS has large investments in Universities like Waterloo in Ontario Canada, whole graduating classes are snapped up by MS, ( or were until these new 'hire american ' bills came into effect), as they have been pre trained to work in the MS environment. This sort of funding and quality level isn't possible in the US.. the US post HS education system is So out of wack, ( read vastly over priced and far too sport oriented), with the rest of the modern world that, like it's political system, it needs a MASSIVE overhaul before the problem will be cured.

ceh4702 said:

Tell Microsoft to just invest in America. No more foreign workers. The reason why there are no Americans going to school to learn these skills is because they only hire foreign employees. This is all caused by Congress letting american companies import foreign labor. The government is the problem.

Guest said:

Lets import more chinese!

Tygerstrike said:

MS needs to invest in America, period. To do anything else is to stab the US in the back, as MS has riden the US consumer all the way to the bank. In this instance, I say screw the foreign workers. Let them get jobs in thier own country. America needs a boost like this. If MS would spend the money to train ppl, America would start to have a highly skilled workforce again. IBM and other large companies started doing this back in the 1980's. Thats when we saw a big boost to the American economy.

If MS cannot or will not support the American ppl. I say boycott them. Its partially the giant companies who put America in this boat. They decided to send jobs out of country. Now MS has a chance to make it right. Lets hope common sense filters in to them.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Since no one else will say it. Americans aren't the best option. I have American and Indian (yes, from India) developers working for me (This is in an IS department of over 1000 in a top 150 company in the Fortune 500) and in most cases I prefer the Indians. Many of them have beaten out thousands of others for the chance to come here and work. Send an American to college and he'll pass the classes and come back with all this creativity and false confidence. Your typical college grad will grossly underestimate the complexity of a large business's systems, and they'll want to offer all sorts of suggestions on how to do things, because at college their opinion mattered. MS wants new employees to work hard and hold their questions until they've got a few years in and understand the way things work.

An Indian developer will work hard, effieciently, ask questions to clarify only, and is often more independent because they've made it this far in life without someone holding their hand.

MS has no obligation to American workers. American is the land of opportunity, opportunity for the hardest worker, not the one who was born here. The real problem is American students majoring in worthless subjects and spend more time protesting than studying. The whole country is short on scientists and engineers, it shouldn't be up to MS to go and make some.

Guest said:

Lets hire people from India to take over our government.

Guest said:

The US Government has no obligation to grant the h1b visas to Microsoft. How about making these new foreign workers pay twice the Income tax and $50,000 to enter the USA.

Kashim Kashim said:

I agree with MilwaukeeMike one hundred percent. Any Fortune 500 company is going to want the best worker for the job and they don't care where that worker comes from. I find it quite amusing when Americans gripe about "foreigners" taking their jobs. And this nonsense posted by some anonymous ***** is just laughable:

?H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker,?

So they can fire an American worker and replace him with a foreign worker? Why would they do that? That doesn't even make sense. At the end of his post he gives a link to his propaganda website, which should immediately set off a red flag for anyone reading his garbage.

Anyway, despite what you may believe, Microsoft isn't here to screw Americans out of jobs. It's not their fault America doesn't produce the number of quality workers they require. I know some of you under qualified "patriotic" Americans believe that you should get one of those lucrative Microsoft jobs, even if there are a dozen foreigner who are far more qualified, but that's just not going to happen.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Maybe Microsoft can pay for my 2 years of university for my CSIT Major. I freaking poor I have to work full time to pay for my school.

treetops treetops said:

I applaud MS, these workers will at least be paying taxes. Look at apple they have sweat shops in other countries. Conditions are so bad that they have nets installed on their outside walls, to literally catch people trying to commit suicide.

Ms could have easily made new jobs in other countries this is a classy move and a challenge to americans letting them know we need more higher education workers. Go to college!

p.s. this cough syrup has me in a daze forgive my bad grammar

tonylukac said:

Let's all install linux. I can't believe microsoft can get away with this lightly. Just simplify it a little instead of all the bloated crapware that was vista and the farse that is to be windows 8. Is that what the foreign workers produce anyway? Linux can do it, so can they. Train your workers with apprentice programs. They got all that money from mcse programs, etc. and materials (they want you to take them every 3 years with all those releases of software); let them apply that knowledge to future hires.

Tygerstrike said:

Or better yet.....they can do as the big sports teams do. SCOUT TALENT!!!! Im sure there are many college students who would love to sign with MS. There are plenty of qualified and over qualified students capable of taking these jobs w/o resorting to foreign workers being shipped to the US. MS wants a fast fix. Unfortunatly this fast fix can have long term ramifications down the line.

Guest said:

Which could be exactly why many Americans prefer majoring in interior home decoration or signing up for nutrition programs to take better care of the Kardashians - a whole bunch out there. (y)

ceh4702 said:

Maybe Microsoft should just move its headquarters to India. Microsoft could also set up its own training center in the USA.

ceh4702 said:

Programmers could be trained at any community college. It takes some basic programming trainging to be prepared for windows style programming, but maybe that is what we really need is a real school for Windows programming and not this cookie-cutter approach to programming in general.

What is strange is every job offer I have ever seen for programmers always requires specific skills in platforms that you can only train for by taking specialized hands-on training with the product, and every employer seems to be using a different set of platforms and products that no one else uses. In the real world, you have to have hands-on training to learn this type of programming.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

Send an American to college and he'll pass the classes and come back with all this creativity and false confidence. Your typical college grad will grossly underestimate the complexity of a large business's systems, and they'll want to offer all sorts of suggestions on how to do things, because at college their opinion mattered.

Actually, if we are going to stereotype I would point out that this is more of a typical young male attitude.

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