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U.S. Senate Proposes Significant Jump in Visas for Foreign Workers

The measure would go beyond what Microsoft and other tech companies had previously requested.

A new U.S. Senate bill would significantly raise the number of visas available for foreign workers, giving a major boost to Microsoft and other tech companies that have said they cannot find enough skilled labor at home.

The Seattle Times reports the legislation would immediately raise the annual cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000—considerably more than the 20,000 extra the Redmond-based company had suggested last year.

The bill would also allow lawmakers to further increase the cap to as much as 300,000 annually, based on demand.

Microsoft told the Times back in November that it had more than 3,400 openings for researchers, engineers and software developers, and not nearly enough job-hunters or recent graduates to fill all the vacancies.

"The biggest myth people have is that a company like Microsoft somehow looks to foreign workers as an easy supply to displace American workers," Karen Jones, Microsoft's deputy general counsel for human resources, told the newspaper. "We simply cannot find qualified Americans to fill these jobs."

Do you think the U.S. has a shortage of highly-skilled tech workers? If so, what should be done to solve the problem? Tell us in the comments section.

Lise Quinn January 30, 2013 at 01:21 AM
See, it's not the illegal immigrants that our jobs are being given away to. Can't find qualified US workers (Who will work for pennies on the dollar)? Invest in them! Invest on our own people, our own country. "Nation-building" starts at home. Microsoft is always about the bottom line, if hiring foreign workers did not improve their bottom line then they wouldn't do it. So, make it too costly to hire on H-1B visas - maybe for every H-1B visa hired there should be a tax applied that covers one person's unemployment costs here, jeez no, make it cover the costs of 10 unemployed persons' here. Make it cheaper to educate and hire US citizens than bring over H-1B visas and Microsoft, et all will change their behavior.
Phillip January 30, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Workers on a visa are compliant workers aren't they? Why risk your visa making waves?

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