Info-tech

Microsoft pushes for 20,000 more H-1B visas

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on September 29, 2012

Microsoft has 6,000 jobs vacant, an increase of 15 per cent over the last year, due to shortage of STEM-skilled professionals.

Software major has 6,000 jobs vacant due to shortage of skilled workers





Microsoft has urged the US Government to issue 20,000 additional H-1B visas to foreign workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In addition, it wants US Congress to allocate 20,000 green cards for workers with these skills.

The software giant has proposed that the companies that use the H-1B visas from this supplementary pool should pay $10,000 for each employee who gets the visa, while green card approval will entail a fee of $15,000.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's General Counsel and Executive Vice-President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, has proposed this plan as a long-term strategy wherein the money generated by issuing the additional visas can be utilised to fund higher education for Americans.

According to Microsoft, this approach could raise up to $500 million a year — or $5 billion over a decade — that the federal government can distribute to states where STEM education investments are needed.

“Our nation faces the paradox of a crisis in unemployment at the same time that many companies cannot fill the jobs they have to offer. In addition to the short-term consequences for businesses and individuals, we risk these jobs migrating from the US, creating even bigger challenges for our long-term competitiveness and economic growth,” Smith said in his post.

Companies across the information technology sector are creating new jobs in the US faster than they can fill them. Microsoft has 6,000 jobs vacant, an increase of 15 per cent over the last year, due to shortage of STEM-skilled professionals. While the overall unemployment rate hovers around 8 per cent, unemployment in computer-related occupations has fallen to 3.4 per cent.

US visa has become the bane of Indian IT companies. In March the US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced an increase in the application fee of H1-B visas.

In June, the Immigration authority announced that it had reached the cap on Congressionally mandated 65,000 H-1B work visas, the most sought after by Indian professionals.

>thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

Published on September 29, 2012
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