Gates presses lawmakers for relaxing 'arbitrary' H-1B visa cap
The "counterproductive" US immigration policies should be revamped to allow more people to get into the country on H-1B visas aimed at highly-skilled professionals, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has said.
Arguing that hiring an 'A'-grade student from India creates spin-off employment for 'B' and 'C' American students.
The current base cap of 65,000 H-1B visas is "arbitrarily set" and bears no relation to the US economy's demand for skilled professionals, Gates told a House of Representatives Panel on Science and Technology.
Appearing before the panel at a time when US lawmakers cutting across party lines are hammering away at the "abuses" in the H-1B visas and outsourcing in general, Gates took on Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California who said there is "no excuse" for keeping out "'B' and 'C' American students" just because there was an "A student from India".
Gates said when companies like Microsoft hire top foreign engineers, they create jobs for 'B and C American students' around them.
The Microsoft founder told lawmakers that the immigration system would have to be revamped in such a fashion so as to allow more number of people to get into America on H-1B visas and it did not make sense for a bright foreign student to be educated using American tax- payers money and then sent home on some immigration requirement.
"It makes no sense to educate people in our universities, often subsidised by US taxpayers, and then insist they return home," Gates said.