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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: Microsoft is correct
By bsd228 on 11/26/2012 9:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
> I currently do interviews for a top five tech company and all I can say is MS is correct. I have done 56 phone screens and in person interviews over the past 11 months. I do at least one per week, sometimes several when a team is on a hiring binge. The quality of candidates from the US is very low on average. Only a handful of the screens ever makes it to an interview, and only a fraction of them are hired. Of that group, only one was a US citizen.

"top five," eh? So basically we're talking about an interview process that is a series of irrelevant questions, or massive dick waving by the interviewers, and any one person can nix the process. My company had to finally send out a directive that the limit for interviews is 5 because we were thinning the herd to extinction.

Companies have decided they want turnkey employees, who have x+1 years experience in a technology that has been around for x years, and when they don't find that, they cry and run for an H1-B. Past work experience matters not, even though your own words describe process issues, not technology ones.

It's also true that with the latest web boom cycle, the available talent level is down - the better people are as a rule employed and need to lured away from an existing job. But MS doesn't have much chance getting me to interview...and neither does Google.

RE: Microsoft is correct
By Reflex on 11/26/2012 9:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, not at all. In fact our loops are exactly 5 people, each with a competency they have to examine. The questions are required to be real world, and we are to examine how they approach the problem as much as the answers they come up with. Only two people in that loop can invalidate a candidate(hiring manager and one other who's from outside the team), everyone else is advisory. We hire people who fail competencies all the time if they raise the bar in other areas. The failed interview simply becomes a piece of info for the manager to know where the candidate's development needed areas will be.

We also have a policy where almost anyone can get a phone screen, and a good chunk of my team comes frmo 'unconventional' backgrounds(ie: not degreed). Including myself.

At the end of the day what we are looking for most is demonstrated ability to learn quickly and adapt to ambiguous situations where requirements are not always clearly defined ahead of time. Because that is reality in today's tech industry. Those who can demonstrate an understanding of scaling and long term support win major bonus points, although they typically are the ones who come from other major companies.

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