Bill Gates Lobbies Again For More U.S. H1B Visas

Bill Gates lobbies again for more US H1B visas
20 March 2006

Lobbying for an increase in the number of H-1B visas, Microsoft chief Bill Gates has called high-skilled immigration the “number one thing” that the software giant needs. He called it “ironic” that Indians have to return to their homeland due to US visa shortages, despite graduating from American computer science institutions.

“Its kind of ironic to have somebody graduate from Stanford Computer Science Department and there is not enough H1B visas, so they have to go back to India. And I have people who have been hired who are just sitting on the border waiting,” Gates, who was in Washington last week to lobby the US Senate on a proposal to increase H1B visas, told The Washington Post.

“The high skilled immigration issue is by far the number one thing” on the Washington agenda of Microsoft and for the electronics industry generally and “this is gigantic for us,” Gates said.

His comments came ahead of discussion in the Senate on a proposal to have the number of H-1B visas increased from the current 65,000 to 115,000, with a 20 per cent increase built in annually. The Bill will be considered when Congress gets back from recess on March 28.