Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has always been a tech firm that has looked for, and usually has had success landing, many of the best and brightest minds. There are many who are from the U.S., but Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) also has a pretty good record of hiring strong tech-savvy people from other countries. And in that vein, the company spoke out about current U.S. immigration policy, essentially offering to pay to have more visas extended for immigrants in order that the company could fill some of its top tech jobs.
Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) said during a panel discussion that he’d like to see more H1-B visas and green cards distributed to foreign workers, and have companies pay $10,000-$15,000 for each one in order to fill high-tech positions. What is interesting about this proposal is that Smith’s company currently has 6,000 unfilled tech positions and it would be willing to pay the U.S. government to provide more than its normal allotment of visas and green cards, if the government provided a program that was specific to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Besides the 65,000 H1-B visas and 20,000 given to those with master’s or higher degrees from U.S. universities, Smith proposed adding 40,000 STEM-specific visas and green cards each year.
Smith noted that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is having a difficult time filling its open positions with merely U.S. labor. “We are creating unfilled jobs … We have a shortage, (but) we are not alone,” Smith said, implying this problem goes beyond Redmond, Washington. There has been a push in business to try to get Congress to open up more visa opportunities, especially in the tech sector. Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) CEO John Chambers said the tech labor shortage is so great in the U.S. that all foreign technology students should have an “automatic green card stapled to your diploma.”
Immigration is a tricky issue during this election season, but one that is clearly important enough for businesses like Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) to stand up and fight for opportunities to hire the best and brightest – no matter where they call home. Growing those businesses in any way possibl, even by filling existing positions, would seem to fit the growth concept that would befit the goals of investors in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock, like billionaire fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital.