U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest yesterday condemned Microsoft’s latest announcement of layoffs while continuing to push the increase the number of Americans replaced with H-1B visa-holders.
“Microsoft has just announced it is laying off another 7,800 workers, on top of the 18,000 layoffs it has already announced. This means Microsoft has shed roughly 1/5th of its workforce in the past couple years. And yet Microsoft, perhaps more than any other major U.S. company, has claimed it suffers from a shortage of American workers and must therefore import more H-1B foreign guest workers.
In arguing for an expansion to the H-1B program, Microsoft’s general counsel declared that “the skill gap is one of the biggest problems Microsoft faces,” and that this labor shortage was “approaching the dimensions of a genuine crisis.” Microsoft has endorsed the so-called I-Squared bill to triple H-1B visas, declaring that “it’s critical that America address the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills,” adding “there are high-skilled, high-paying jobs being created by American businesses across the country that are being left unfilled because of this gap.” Mr. Gates himself testified before Congress that “our higher education system doesn’t produce enough top scientists and engineers to meet the needs of the U.S. economy,” and has suggested as a remedy that we allow corporations to hire an “infinite” number of H-1B workers. Last year, Mr. Gates coauthored an op-ed admonishing members of Congress who resisted his push for more guest worker labor.
Microsoft even signed a letter urging passage of the I-Squared H-1B increase, asserting that “there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs requiring highly skilled individuals. Four high-tech companies alone – IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle – have combined 10,000 openings in the United States.” But consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas recently noted that “employers in the computer industry saw the heaviest downsizing of the year, announcing a total of 59,528 planned layoffs. That is 69 percent more than a year ago.” Perhaps these companies, instead of lobbying for H-1B workers, should hire some of the thousands of tech workers who are being laid off?
Read his full statement from the link below.