RealTime IT News

Gates Wants More Professional Visas

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates asked Congress on Wednesday for more visas for skilled professionals, echoing arguments often made by many in the tech sector.

Gates told the U.S. House of Representatives' Science and Technology Committee that the 65,000 H-1B visas allotted for professional workers annually was inadequate, pointing out the 2007 quota was filled on the first day they became available.

Gates argued that the United States had the best schools, especially in engineering and computer science.

"The majority of the students in the computer science department are foreign-born," said the Microsoft founder, adding they were often unable to get visas to stay. "The preference for a company like Microsoft is to hire these people."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, said Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and other companies wanted more H-1B visas because foreign-born workers were cheaper. To hire enough Americans, he said, "you'd have to raise wages."