U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley told Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer that U.S. employees must have priority over immigrants working under visa programs in a round of job cuts announced Thursday.
Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, asked Ballmer how many of the jobs cut will include those with H-1B visas or other immigrant-worker credentials, according to a letter dated Thursday on Grassley's Web site.
"During a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers," the Iowa senator said in the letter. "Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force.
I'm not anti-immigration at all. I think that immigration has been the foundation on which our country has built its financial and industrial power. However, I also don't think we should go out of our way to recruit foreign workers through the H-1B visa program when we have plenty of qualified Americans that need jobs or will be needing jobs in the near future. Companies like Microsoft make the argument that there aren't enough qualified workers in the U.S. for their needs. Personally I think they like to hire through the H-1B visa program because it cuts their expenses by lowering salaries and by sponsoring the workers they have workers that for the most part can't quit or they will have to go back home.
I don't know if MS is canning American workers in favor of H-1B workers but I sure hope that someone is watching to make sure Americans aren't losing out due to some loop hole in the law.