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Microsoft wants 20,000 extra green cards per year too

Microsoft is willing to pay the U.S. government for additional H-1B worker visas, saying there aren't enough skilled Americans to fill its available job openings.
More specifically, it suggested that the government raise $500 million a year by tacking on an extra $10,000 fee for each newly created H-1B visa or $15,000 for each new green card. This money can then be used to offer better education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for Americans. Microsoft noted that not enough Americans are skilled in these areas to keep up with demand.

In addition to raising the number of visas offered, Microsoft wants the government to give 20,000 extra green cards per year.

H-1B visas allow foreign workers to come to the U.S. temporarily to work in their field. They can renew their visas every three years. Green cards, on the other hand, allow foreign workers to live in the country permanently. Currently, the government offers 65,000 visas a year, but in the past has seen numbers as high as 195,000.

Microsoft is one of the largest sponsors when it comes to H-1B visas. Ten percent of its 57,400 U.S. workforce are H-1B visa holders. From 2010 to 2011, it applied for about 850 visas annually for new employees on their very first H-1B visa. In 2011, Microsoft sponsored over 4,700 H-1B workers for green cards.

Many worry, however, that Microsoft is just looking for cheap labor. An issue is that Microsoft and other corporations don't need to prove that there aren't skilled Americans to fill these jobs. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) even warned that there are "inadequate safeguards" that protect skilled Americans from being booted out of jobs for cheaper foreign workers.

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

An analysis of Microsoft's green card applications shows that 25 percent were entry-level workers and 61 percent were a step up as software engineers or marketing managers. Most hold technical jobs, but most also make fewer than six figures while many graduates usually demand over $100,000 annual salaries.

Source: The Seattle Times

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RE: Seems legit..
By tayb on 11/26/2012 5:40:19 PM , Rating: 5
You're blaming the kid when the problem is really the entire education system.

In high school counselors are supposed to COUNSEL kids but they do anything but. They don't talk about the costs of student loans, they don't talk about what you can or can't do with a certain degree, they don't talk about future or current job prospects for a given degree, they don't even remotely prepare you for the rigors of a certain degree, and they definitely don't talk about earnings potential. About the only thing they do efficiently is scare you into making sure you do go to college. Parents? "Ask your counselor."

Outside of the counseling situation we have a complete failure from the ground up to properly educate children in STEM. I'm talking kindergarten all the way up through 12th grade. It is POSSIBLE to graduate from a high school in the United States without EVER having taken Chemistry, Physics, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, or Calculus. How is this possible? How can a child graduate from high school with no knowledge of math beyond simple algebra and no knowledge of science beyond freshman biology??? This is an absolute joke.

...on to the colleges...

From my experience there is an abundance of incoming freshman enrolling in STEM programs at universities. If half of these kids finished with degree we wouldn't have a shortage. Unfortunately for these wide eyed freshman their high school education fails them so miserably they are not even REMOTELY prepared for a STEM curriculum. The most intelligent students pass and move on while the vast majority drop out (of the program) within a SINGLE semester. When I was a freshman at UT Austin the professor in an introduction to digital systems class said "look to your left, look to your right, look at yourself. Only one of you will pass this class." Boy was that true. The class was hard but it wasn't outrageous. If I hadn't taken AP Chemistry I would have struggled even more than I did.

And my last point... failure of colleges to move beyond "theory teaching." I interviewed 15 applicants for a .NET web application developer position. Every applicant had a college degree and some had a degree and 15+ years of experience. Of the 15 that I interviewed only ONE was able to pass a "FizzBuzz" test using the programming language of THEIR CHOICE! (Google FizzBuzz to see how ridiculous easy this test is.) I'll attribute some of this to nerves but a lot of these guys had no idea what they were doing. They couldn't initialize a loop on their own, write a new method, or even come close to writing a program from start->new project to completion. These guys LEARNED to copy their professors code and "make it work." They didn't actually learn how to write code.

All in all I'll say that it's very easy to just jump and blame the current generation of kids (my generation, actually) but the problem is systemic. The entire education system is catered to the lowest common denominator and the idea of "tough love" has nearly completely disappeared. "Yes, Timmy, if studying History is what you want to do you should do it!!" Schools are miserable failures, universities are miserable failures, and parents are miserable failures. Kids, by virtue of their surroundings, education, and upbringing, are likely to also be miserable failures.

RE: Seems legit..
By dgingerich on 11/26/12, Rating: 0
RE: Seems legit..
By bsd228 on 11/26/2012 10:02:24 PM , Rating: 4
Sorry - if the English teachers are a stickler for the formatting and they state this (Shrunk & White, for example), and you then proceed to ignore it, they're going to flunk you, no matter what your major is. Saying these standards aren't important and you have a high IQ isn't going to sway them a bit. Nor can you claim you have a great work ethic if you ignore these.

The point of writing in English comp is to articulate an argument. A paper describing how to assemble a computer lacks an argument...that's why she did not like it. Even something a trite as Intel vs AMD would have been a better paper than a tutorial, which is what you presented. I'll say that I did not understand this after 4 years of honors English classes in high school. It wasn't until college that this became clear. Writing is not about showing that you can demonstrate knowledge of both sides of an argument. It's about taking the information and then using it to make an assertion and to support it.

An AP score let me skip one semester of the two required for English comp and I was able to meet the second one taking a Western Civilization lit class, which covered writings throughout the Industrial Era. You may have found that more approachable. But if you don't think you need knowledge of economics or psychology or history to be your're wrong. A programmer might have an easier time without these, but as a sysadmin you need to be able to work well with others, not be the unix troll in the closet.

RE: Seems legit..
By RufusM on 11/27/2012 11:20:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the point of college is to produce well rounded individuals. If you want specific training you'll need to take private or online classes or attend a vocational college.

You're right in that a number of computer science jobs are heavily focused on experience rather than education, but there are many companies requiring a college degree. There are only so many jobs where it's okay for an employee to perform their core function but have problems communicating with customers or writing an email with correct punctuation. Employers will only put up with that until they find someone who's good at both.

RE: Seems legit..
By Wererat on 11/28/2012 10:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
The point of a Bachelor's degree is to teach you how to think -- although many universities appear to have abandoned that in favor of teaching _what_ to think.

This is my problem with the IT industry today and H1Bs. Most H1Bs come over here and can code in the language/API they're hired to code. However, anything more -- writing (even code documentation), speaking coherently, understanding _why_ they're coding something, or thinking beyond the spec isn't included.

Worse, as a whole, most of them act as if they've been raised to consider independent thought as a Bad Thing. This makes them great IT insects and terrible professionals.

On the corporate side, HR departments have really worked hard to turn software into an insectoid career. Nobody wants an engineer proper who solves problems; they want a code-robot with the right acronyms on his resume.

This is because actually evaluating the ability to think is hard and parsing a text resume for keywords is easy, but mostly because companies have shifted from the idea of retaining and nurturing a career employee to employing a disposable work unit.

This doesn't actually work as planned; it takes a lot of design overhead, QA, project management, and rework to handle the fact that you just hired a code generation unit and not a person.

RE: Seems legit..
By fic2 on 11/27/2012 1:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
You must have missed the part where he said, "One, in a "write directions" paper". He would have gotten an F if he turned in an Intel vs AMD paper since that wasn't the assignment.

I agree that English is pretty important for communicating with colleagues since I have to try to decipher emails all the time. Some people have an extreme lack of the writing "skills".

RE: Seems legit..
By bsd228 on 11/27/2012 4:05:25 PM , Rating: 2
> You must have missed the part where he said, "One, in a "write directions" paper". He would have gotten an F if he turned in an Intel vs AMD paper since that wasn't the assignment

hmm, I guess so. I have no idea what such a paper is, or why it would be in an English Comp class. And if it was a "write directions" paper that means what it sounds like, why would she complain about the argument presented?

RE: Seems legit..
By inperfectdarkness on 11/26/2012 10:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
Do a youtube search for "Mike Rowe testifies before Congress".

There's a reason if I had to do it all over again, I'd become a tradesman.

RE: Seems legit..
By V-Money on 11/26/2012 11:17:12 PM , Rating: 2
From my experience there is an abundance of incoming freshman enrolling in STEM programs at universities. If half of these kids finished with degree we wouldn't have a shortage. Unfortunately for these wide eyed freshman their high school education fails them so miserably they are not even REMOTELY prepared for a STEM curriculum. The most intelligent students pass and move on while the vast majority drop out (of the program) within a SINGLE semester.

There are lots of problems with out school system these days. Case and point, I was starting to get a science degree after getting out of the Navy as a nuclear qualified electrician, they (California UC/CSU campuses) gave me 3 credits towards PE for boot camp...WTF

I tried to do it but I eventually changed my degree path because it was so f***ing easy that it was driving me out of my mind. I was taking Biology w/lab, Chemistry w/lab, Physics w/lab, and Calculus at the same time and all it did was piss me off at how much time I was wasting learning things I already knew. Worst part is it would have taken me more than 5 years just to get my Bachelors because of all the budget cuts and BS requirements. My schedule was insane and it took up all of my time for no reason.

Now I'm getting a BA in Accounting taking 18 credits (mostly online) a semester with 47 credits transferred. I spend 3 hours in class a week and about 8 a week on homework and I will have a degree in just over a year. It's not really what I wanted, but something about going from serving onboard the submarine NR-1 to ending up in entry level science classes made me want to cry.

RE: Seems legit..
By RufusM on 11/27/2012 11:12:20 AM , Rating: 2
You know most colleges let you test out of a number of general courses (especially science courses), although you typically do still need to pay for the general course credits.

RE: Seems legit..
By V-Money on 11/27/2012 12:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
Wow really, I never would have thought to look into ways around it...

So yeah, I was able to Clep out of English and start directly in to Chemistry and Calculus by taking the tests (as opposed to intro to chem and precalc) but that doesn't change the fact that when you spend 6 years studying and operating nuclear reactors which includes chemistry, physics, and math that taking these courses gets a little old. I am good at these subjects but I in no way like them (in fact I hate all three of them with just about every fiber of my being, especially math).

Funny enough there was no way around bio, I had to start with intro to bio. I tried arguing since I took anatomy w/lab during the summer and was top of the class with over 100% that I was obviously capable of handling the class. They wouldn't budge. I actually do enjoy Bio though so it wasn't as bad.

RE: Seems legit..
By deksman2 on 11/27/2012 7:28:11 AM , Rating: 2
The problem indeed lies in the education system, but that's not the only issue.
We live in a world where most of the science/engineering type jobs are looked at as something 'hard'.

People's interests and desires are shaped by the culture/environment they live in.

On top of that, the educational system itself is idiotic.
Its based on repetition, competition and classes are NOT engaging to students in any capacity.
It doesn't expose children and grown-ups alike to relevant general education.
It doesn't encourage problem solving or critical thinking.

Education is industrialized, meaning that they are testing how good you are at following orders and then specifically train you to do a job and 'be productive for the purpose of economy and keeping the flow of money'.

It is accurate to say that you cannot force kids to become engineers, scientists and mathematicians...
BUT, we don't live in an environment/society that makes such classes interesting in the first place, or desirable.

People learn best when they have an active interest in something, but even that won't do you any good if you create an environment that SUCKS out all the joy out of doing it and forces you to look at it as a job.

First off, monetary incentive and competition fail miserably to entice creativity and problem solving (this much is evident from science alone).

We live in a day and age where we had for decades the ability to automate 75% of the global workforce.

We long surpassed the level of technology (over 100 years ago) where the mentality that 'you need to work in order to live or do anything else' applies.
We have had (and still do) ample supply of resources on landfills that could have been converted into SUPERIOR synthetic materials in such an abundance to provide the necessary needs and numerous wants, several times over for each person on the planet and industry at large (since the late 19th century no less).

Relevant general education.
Its practically non-existent. Because if people were exposed to this at a very young age, they would have general information at their fingertips in practically all subjects relating to man, and they would be able to govern themselves (no need for governments, politicians or people in positions of power) and they would be much less prone to being manipulated and used by others.

There is a method called 'gamification of life' which essentially entails learning through game like capacity.
Khan Academy is actually very similar to this.
No grades, no competition, etc.

There are plenty of taboos surrounding what children should be exposed to at a certain age for fear of them being damaged by it.
Its a load of bull.
Children are like adults.
In order to know something, they need to learn about it, or experience it.
Children are also better at learning new things because their brains are at a formative stage where information is absorbed better.
In adults, similar results occur when high levels of interests into something comes into play.

We can have a global population of renaissance men and women.
There are no intricately 'stupid people.
The difference is merely in the amount of information they were exposed to, and how well they assimilated that information (and I need not tell you that each person learns in their own way).

RE: Seems legit..
By WinstonSmith on 11/27/2012 9:29:17 AM , Rating: 3
Professor of Theoretical Physics Michio Kaku Discusses H1B Visas and US Education System

RE: Seems legit..
By YashBudini on 11/28/2012 10:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
More importantly the state of US education is totally out of whack with supply and demand, and nobody is asking why.

RE: Seems legit..
By spamreader1 on 11/27/2012 11:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
I agree in part that the US public school system needs overhauled. We homeschool in large part due to the inadequacies.

I believe very large part of the educational problem centers around parenting.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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