Posted on May 4, 2005

Microsoft’s Gates Urges End to US Tech Visa Limits

Reuters, Apr. 27

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.

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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.

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