Print 119 comment(s) - last by rocketbuddha.. on Nov 28 at 6:15 PM

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 Reflex on 11/27/2012 12:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
1) Often their english is better than ours. This is especially true in India.

2) These people are employees of the company as well, not contractors. The risks with them are the same as the risks with me or any state side employee.

3) Why should I trust a US based employee any more than an Indian or Chinese based employee? I'm not racist, and there is no evidence that US Citizens are less likely to be involved in industrial espionage than anyone else. In fact I saw that first hand at MS back in 2009. Never seen employees dissapear so fast from company records after the FBI swooped in.

RE: Microsoft is correct
By bsd228 on 11/27/2012 4:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
> 1) Often their english is better than ours. This is especially true in India.

Where on earth are you making this comparison? The norm is that their English is very difficult to hear at all. A year or two back Wipro talked about the fact that only 3% of their applicants are sufficiently qualified to be used for an outsourcing contract.

Same problem exists in China. These languages have so little in common with English - it is very difficult to learn to speak the other, particularly in a non native place.

The H1-Bs tend to be the cream of the very large crop.

> 3) Why should I trust a US based employee any more than an Indian or Chinese based employee?

At a superficial level, you can do a background check on a US based employee. You really can't in China or India.

RE: Microsoft is correct
By Reflex on 11/27/2012 6:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
1) I have more trouble with southern or new york accents than Indian accents. Even the British are often more difficult to understand. My suggestion is that you spend more time with foreigners so that accents are not such a challenge. Its an international business, even without outsourcing, not being able to understand those you will be doing business with only limits yourself and your company.

3) There are services for this, even overseas, if you have such concerns. Furthermore, corruption often has little to do with a person's background and more to do with what the employee is being offered at the time(and thier personal ethics around it). What do I care if a US employee has not *been caught* doing something illegal regarding thier employer? What I care is if they are able to resist temptation when they work with me. The vast majority of this type of espionage goes undetected in the first place, and I've seen nothing that indicates that foreign workers are any more prone to it than local employees.

RE: Microsoft is correct
By drycrust3 on 11/27/2012 9:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
2) These people are employees of the company as well, not contractors.

They are? So one moment you're asking a job applicant to say how they would rush through a 10 week Quality and Assurance program in two weeks, then suddenly it turns out the answer the person being interviewed should have known, but "somehow" the information wasn't passed to them, is there's a ton of staff available hiding in some back room who have nothing to do and will willingly rush to the aid of our 10 week program.
This is sounding more and more like the plot to a B grade movie.

RE: Microsoft is correct
By Reflex on 11/28/2012 4:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
You just failed. ;)

Nope, thats not how it works. When a project is scoped at, say, ten weeks, and you get cut down to, say, two weeks, there are a number of things that can be done. One thing I look for is push back and a discussion of tradeoffs. The two week scenario is an extreme example, what I want is solutions from them that do not involve leaving quality behind.

They can negotiate with other teams to 'borrow' headcount in exchange for loaning people to those teams after their project is complete. They can use offshore resources to go to a 24 hour cycle, since after all I specified the time frame as the critical factor, not the headcount. They can leverage automation to a greater degree, prioritize test cases, focus on end to end user scenarios, make a case for dropping non-core features, etc etc.

There is no single correct answer, I am putting a problem in front of them, an extreme example of a very very common situation in modern software development(too much to do, tight schedule), and seeing how they will handle it. The worst responses are to either claim everyone will simply work extreme overtime through it(recipe for QA disaster), or simply drop testing that does not fit.

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