Menu
Bill Gates' fears for US IT

Bill Gates' fears for US IT

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates called on the US Congress to raise the cap on skilled-worker visas, saying the county's economic future was at stake.

Gates, testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he'd prefer that "unlimited" numbers of highly skilled foreign workers be allowed into the US, although he acknowledged that might not be politically feasible. Right now, the controversial H-1B programme, which tech vendors and other companies use to hire foreign workers, has an annual cap of 65,000 people a year, and the cap is typically reached in the first couple of months the applications are available.

"These employees are vital to American competitiveness. We should encourage them to become permanent US residents; they provide the nation economic growth, alongside America's native-born talent."

Several US tech companies have recently said they have hundreds of unfilled jobs because they can't find qualified workers.

Gates also repeated two other themes he said are necessary for the US to continue to compete in a global economy: He called on Congress to improve the US education system and increase government spending on research and development. Without those three changes, the US is at risk of losing its economic power and high standard of living, he said.

Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said he heard different stories from industries and workers during forums on the economy in his state last month. "Time and time again, local businesses told me that they just could not find the engineers or the computer scientists they needed to run their businesses," he said. "At the same time, skilled workers in my state are watching their jobs move overseas, not because foreign workers are more qualified, but because US companies can get away with paying poverty wages to workers in other countries."

Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who often votes with Democrats, also questioned the effect of outsourcing. US companies can hire overseas engineers at a "fraction of the cost" of US engineers, he said.

The free trade agreements that allow easy outsourcing benefits the US, Gates answered. The US tech industry is able to grow by being able to sell products all over the world, he said.

"The demand worldwide for highly qualified engineers is going to guarantee them all jobs wherever they are located," Gates said. "The IT industry, I guarantee you, will be in the United States as long as we can get these people to come to the United States."

Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, said he agreed that Congress needed to raise the H-1B cap. He asked if an annual cap of 300,000 would be appropriate.

"It'd be a fantastic improvement," Gate said. "My basic view is we should welcome as many of these people as we can get."


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftbill gates

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments