WASHINGTON—The United States should remove visa limits to allow more skilled foreign citizens to work at U.S. companies if it wants to remain a leader in technology, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said on Wednesday.
Microsoft is having a hard time finding skilled workers within the United States, and the lack of H-1B visas for skilled workers is only making the situation worse, Gates said in a panel discussion at the Library of Congress.
“The whole idea of the H-1B visa thing is, don’t let too many smart people come into the country. The whole thing doesn’t make sense,” Gates said.
But he reserved his sharpest criticism for the visa caps, which he called “almost a case of a centrally controlled economy.”
“If the demand is there, why have the regulation at all?” he said.
Congress capped the number of non-immigrant visas for skilled professionals at 65,000 in 2004 and 2005 in an effort to increase border security and ensure more jobs for home-grown tech workers.