Two steps are critical. First, we must demand strong schools so that young Americans enter the workforce with the math, science and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in the knowledge economy. We must also make it easier for foreign-born scientists and engineers to work for U.S. companies.
American competitiveness also requires immigration reforms that reflect the importance of highly skilled foreign-born employees. Demand for specialized technical skills has long exceeded the supply of native-born workers with advanced degrees, and scientists and engineers from other countries fill this gap.
This issue has reached a crisis point. Computer science employment is growing by nearly 100,000 jobs annually. But at the same time studies show that there is a dramatic decline in the number of students graduating with computer science degrees.
The United States provides 65,000 temporary H-1B visas each year to make up this shortfall -- not nearly enough to fill open technical positions.
Permanent residency regulations compound this problem. Temporary employees wait five years or longer for a green card. During that time they can't change jobs, which limits their opportunities to contribute to their employer's success and overall economic growth.
Last year, reform on this issue stalled as Congress struggled to address border security and undocumented immigration. As lawmakers grapple with those important issues once again, I urge them to support changes to the H-1B visa program that allow American businesses to hire foreign-born scientists and engineers when they can't find the homegrown talent they need. This program has strong wage protections for U.S. workers: Like other companies, Microsoft pays H-1B and U.S. employees the same high levels -- levels that exceed the government's prevailing wage.
Reforming the green card program to make it easier to retain highly skilled professionals is also necessary. These employees are vital to U.S. competitiveness, and we should welcome their contribution to U.S. economic growth.
We should also encourage foreign students to stay here after they graduate. Half of this country's doctoral candidates in computer science come from abroad. It's not in our national interest to educate them here but send them home when they've completed their studies.
Bill Gates. How to keep America competitive, Washington Post.
Este año se espera que los H1B se agoten en menos de dos semanas. A mi ADI me esta teniendo que gestionar el mio 3 meses antes de que empiece a trabajar. El año pasado George Bush se negó a conceder los 100.000 visados H1B adicionales que pedía el gobernador de California y la industria del Silicon Valley.