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Microsoft backs immigration reforms, calls current H-1B visa system disruptive

Microsoft has told lawmakers that the current H-1B visa system is incredibly disruptive to business planning and operations of US employers.

twitter-logoPTI | April 23, 2013 | Updated 11:10 IST

Microsoft has told lawmakers that the current H-1B visa system, the numerical limit of which was set by the Congress in 1990, is incredibly disruptive to business planning and operations of US employers.

The software giant came out in support of the comprehensive immigration reform which recommends substantial increase in the H-1B visas.

Referring to the fact that the US received 40,000 more applications for H-1B visas this year and the cap was reached in the first week itself, Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corp, told a Congressional hearing that running out of H-1B visas this quickly has significant consequences for the economy.

He said: "This year, employers are faced with a scenario in which one-third of the H-1B petitions that they submitted will be rejected in the H-1B lottery. These are 40,000 positions that will remain unfilled despite the fact that qualified candidates have been identified and job offers have been extended after a careful, intensive recruiting process in a very competitive market for talent. This is incredibly disruptive to the business planning and operations of US employers."

In his prepared statement, Smith said Microsoft entered this year's H-1B cap season knowing that "we could not file H-B petitions for 250 candidates we had identified for job offers" simply because the cap would be exhausted in the first week, a full two months before their graduation dates in June.

"Among the H-1B petitions we were able to file this year, we will likely have more than 200 additional candidates to whom job offers were extended, but who will not be selected in the H-1B lottery. When this happens, we don't simply rescind these offers of employment," he said.

Smith added: "We begin the process of identifying alternative options for employing these talented individuals at one of our subsidiaries abroad.

"The inability to employ these individuals in the US means the loss of work that was intended to be performed in the US and along with it, the output and productivity our business groups were planning, not to mention the potential tax revenues and economic activity associated with the salaries for those jobs."

He said these immigration challenges also have very real consequences for the talent US is trying to attract.

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