Microsoft Wants End to Limits on Overseas Hiring – from TBO.com — I seriously do not understand what they are thinking at Microsoft to make these sorts of public comments. Ballmer said something like this some months back and I emailed him about it and he was baffled by my email. They apparently do not see any of this as a “hot potato” issue that can have negative implications on sales. This is total isolation from reality. In this case Gates has physically gone to Washington to go door-to-door on this issue.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates urged the Bush administration and lawmakers Wednesday to abolish immigration limits on foreign engineers who can be hired by U.S. companies, a sensitive subject among American technology workers watching their own jobs increasingly move overseas.

Too add insult to injury regarding unemployed USA coders, Gates said they are obviously no good.

“Anybody who’s got good computer science training, they are not out there unemployed,” Gates said. “We’re just not seeing an available labor pool.”

I guess that’s true insofar as young hotshot coders who will work cheap. In the early days of Microsoft one of the earmarks insofar as getting hired was Gates desire to get employees to take a cut in pay to work there — to prove they wanted to work there. This paid off for early employees when the stock was flying high. Then the company went into the practice of hiring supposed contractors who actually worked for the company full-time, but were not paid the same as others and had no benefits. The company was sued over its labor practices. This is just the latest phase of evolving corporate policies, an overall effort to get rid of pesky American locals. It would make more sense if the company wasn’t banking a billion a month. Why be so cheap?



  1. markus says:

    We did this at Microsoft even back in the 1990’s; run adds, get citizen applicants, then disqualify them. Not only were h1-b visa employees cheaper but they were good seed for staring research centers in India and China which we now have.

    The nitpicking we did on resumes and in interviews sparked a trend of interview trivia in the industry. If IT were dentistry, for example, you would be rejecting applicants for not having drilled a particular tooth at a particular angle.

    The fictitious crap my colleagues and I were instructed by our superiors to write ended up with the government as justification to omit citizen applicants. It was also used by our corporate officers (and those of other companies) to lobby congress to lift H1-b visa quotas and even to get rid of quotas entirely. It was also used to accuse our domestic universities of producing inferior graduates (I myself wrote in several such filings that specific courses given in, say, Madras India, were absent in the curriculum given to American citizens in domestic universities when in fact that difference was relevant only as a hook for me to harp on as grounds for disqualifying the citizen applicants).

    I was young and stupid, and had lots of friends from abroad…which is where I was from anyway. To me I was looking out for my friends, and my superiors knew that I would. Its only now, when I see American citizens dying abroad in wars that I wonder if I disqualified any of them, and now they are shot in half or maimed while those here loyal only to the mighty dollar have a nice office in peaceful Redmond.

    It is one of the worst things I have ever been party to in my entire life. I manage my guilt these days by attending and auditing at universities across the USA, advising computer science students of the reality awaiting them. Thankfully, I have turned dozens away from this corrupt field.

  2. c n baker says:

    To: Bill Gates
    How can you tell Congress how concerned you are over the fact that a large percentage of United States high school students never graduate and then open up our borders for “international” students and workers to enter the country and take jobs. Bill, you and Melinda can’t be philanthropists on one hand and thieves on the other. You may be giving money to charity, but you are stealing American jobs from American workers.

  3. Brad Ward, Arlington, TN says:

    There have always been problems with the free markets when it is influenced by government subsidies to corporations like H1B visas. To explain simply what’s going on, consider this thought experiment:
    There are two sellers, #1 & #2, and many buyers in the same market. The two sellers would like to buy their supply to make their product at a low price. The supply includes all inputs to make the product such as materials, labor, manufacturing processes, etc. Ultimately, these two sellers would like to sell their products at a high price and make a profit. Well one day, seller #1 decided that they would like to make more profit but they can’t figure out how to take more market share from seller #2 to increase profits. During a meeting with management, seller #1 decides to lobby the government for more H1B visas to help them be more competitive against seller #2 because their labor rate is too high. The government agrees with seller #1 and decides to increase the H1B visa quota. Like magic, the labor rates fall as predicted because of the increase labor supply, and this makes seller #1 happy. Seller #1 can now buy their supply at a lower cost. This in turn, allows their profits to increase because they are still selling high. If seller #2 doesn’t take advantage of the H1B visas or the resulting new labor rates, then their profit will be lower because they are still buying the supply at a higher price than seller #1. Therefore, seller #2 will see a decrease in profits. If seller #2 continues to be unprofitable, then they will go out of business after some period of time. Well seller #2 wants to stay in business, so they take advantage of H1B visas as well. So who wins and who loses? Since the labor rate obviously goes down, then the workers for seller #1 and #2 will take a financial loss.
    That’s what happens when the government intervenes. The government basically allowed the sellers to profit at the expense of someone else-the workers. This may not be the intention, but it is certainly the result. Now, let’s consider what happens without government intervention:
    There are two sellers, #1 & #2, and many buyers in the same market. The two sellers would like to buy their supply to make their product at a low price. The supply includes all inputs to make the product such as materials, labor, manufacturing processes, etc. Ultimately, these two sellers would like to sell their products at a high price and make a profit. Well one day, seller #1 decided that they would like to make more profit but they can’t figure out how to take more market share from seller #2 to increase profits. During a meeting with management, seller #1 decides to lobby the government for more H1B visas to help them be more competitive against seller #2 because their labor rate is too high. The government disagrees with seller #1 and decides to not to increase the H1B visa quota. Seller #1 is not happy and goes back to management with a different strategy. This time seller #1 decides to improve their manufacturing process to be more efficient and increase productivity. Seller #1 can now buy their supply at a lower cost because they were innovative. In turn, this allows their profits to increase because they are still able to sell high or even slightly lower than before they were innovative. If seller #2 doesn’t become more innovative, then his profits will be lower because he is still buying the supply at a higher price than seller #1. Therefore, seller #2 will see a decrease in profits. If seller #2 continues to be unprofitable, then they will go out of business after some period of time. Well seller #2 wants to stay in business, so they become more innovative. So who wins and who loses? Everyone wins because these two sellers are doing more with less. The results are lower supply costs and increased profits that benefit their shareholders and workers. Moreover, the buyers of their products benefit because the price of their products will ultimately decrease.
    We’re essentially making a choice between capitalism and socialism. Should the government make rules that benefit one at the expense of another?
    Now let’s assume that the government agrees with corporations and grants them this subsidy that essentially lowers the living standard of workers and reduces innovation. How long do you think that there will be political stability in America with this kind of policy? Have the politicians not learned anything from history or the countries that have socialist economies?