Microsoft: Getting Around US Visa Restrictions

From Redmond, here’s a new take on the global sourcing of talent. According to the Washington Post, Microsoft "plans to open a software development center in Canada this fall to attract talent and avoid U.S. immigration issues. The Vancouver, British Columbia location will be one of only a handful development centers outside the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the software company said Thursday."

According to the authors, "Microsoft has been a vocal proponent of increasing the number of visas granted to skilled workers from outside the U.S. At the same time, the software maker has repeatedly said the U.S. is not producing enough engineers to fill its chairs, and argued that the U.S. education system fails to place enough emphasis on math and sciences."

Let's examine this situation for a minute. Canada gets jobs -- high paying jobs. They get a new tax base. They get access to talent who has a good chance at staying for years and launching new companies -- which will beget more jobs and additional taxes. In addition, the so-called "high risk" workers who the US will not let into our borders will have the ability to sneak in and less carefully guarded border crossings (relative to airport customs and immigration).

Methinks the US is the biggest loser in this. Perhaps it's time for a change of heart when it comes to immigration reform? Nahhhh, wouldn't be prudent. We're entering an election year and it's not politically smart to suggest changing immigration rules. Perhaps our politicians could learn a thing or two from two scheming Canadian lads looking to get a free beer North of the border!

Jason Busch

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