Microsoft says the United States government should add 20,000 H-1B visas to its current 65,000-visa program. H-1B visas are employment-based visas that are granted to foreign nationals.
The reasons for Microsoft’s concern make sense. With 6,000 job openings in the U.S, the technology giant knows it needs high skilled employees to fill positions in research, development and engineering.
Unfortunately, too few American students have the knowledge and skills required. Microsoft says the shortage in high-skilled workers will only increase.
Last month, the company held a forum with the Brookings Institution, the Washington D.C.-based think tank, to present “A National Talent Strategy.” The paper discussed the changes that could be made to the employment-based visa program and the increase in funding those changes would provide for careers in computer science and technology.
Microsoft suggests employers should be required to pay $10,000 to provide one H-1B visa to one foreign employee. The current fee is between $2,500 and $3,000. Coupled with the increased issuance of the visas, the increase in fees would generate around $150 million, which would be used to develop “guided pathways” to help more American students pursue high-skilled careers.
Calling it a “Race to the Future,” Microsoft states that there needs to be combined long-term improvements to address this issue in the U.S., for the country will not be able to move ahead if high skilled employees continue to be in short supply.
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