Microsoft, with its recent layoffs, has annoyed U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who is known for his stand against immigration reform, says a report from Business Insider. On Wednesday, the tech firm announced plans to slash 7,800 jobs in addition to the 18,000 it announced in the last fiscal year.
Microsoft a big user of H1-B visa
Senator Sessions believes that even though Microsoft is laying off a massive number of workers, it has been pushing Congress to restore the H1-B visa program for hiring foreign workers for U.S. jobs. He said Microsoft’s newest round of layoffs clearly shows that the company has dropped around one-fifth of its workforce in the past couple of years. Despite this, the tech firm, “perhaps more than any other major U.S. company,” has been claiming that it “suffers from a shortage of American workers” and therefore, needs more “H-1B foreign guest workers,” according to the senator.
It certainly is interesting to note that despite the massive layoffs, Microsoft’s hasn’t reduced its usage of the H1-B visa program very much. In fact, the company is among the top 10 biggest users of H1-B visas. According to MyVisaJobs.com, in 2015, the tech company imported about 3,700 foreign workers, while in 2014, it imported about 3,900. And prior to the layoffs, in 2013, it imported about 4,000 workers. However, Indian outsourcing firms are even bigger users of foreign workers. In 2015, Indian outsourcing firms like Infosys, Tata and Wipro brought in 8,000-23,000 workers, according to MyVisaJobs.com.
Is the senator right?
It is no secret that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has long been calling for officials to expand the H1-B program. Tech firms such as Plus, Microsoft and others have been making efforts to get the I-Squared Act approved. The law could raise the annual limit for H-1B visas from 65,000 to 195,000. The act would also allow all students with STEM degrees from U.S. universities to seek a job in the U.S.
Sessions’ reasoning appears logical. But another viewpoint could be that comparing Microsoft’s layoffs and H1-B hiring may not make sense as the layoffs have been worldwide. In fact, a majority of the layoffs are related to the workers the firm inherited from Nokia, mainly in Finland.
The senator also slammed Microsoft for its layoffs last year, but the company isn’t the only one on his list. In September, he spoke against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s non-profit pro-immigration organization, FWD.us.