September 28, 2012
Microsoft has entered the US immigration debate with a novel proposal for expanding the number of visas available for foreign techies: have companies pay the government a good chunk of change for an expanded number of them.
Redmond’s general counsel Brad Smith, speaking on a panel discussing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, proposed that companies pay $10,000 for each worker they hire under an expanded STEM-specific H-1B visa program, and $15,000 for every green card issued to foreign tech workers.
Currently, the US has a cap of 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas per year, plus an additional 20,000 made available to foreign students who’ve received a masters or higher degree from a US university. Smith wants to add 20,000 more H-1B visas and 20,000 STEM-specific green cards.