Millennium Post

Microsoft suggests charging fees for new visas

In a proposal that will hit Indian IT companies the most, US software giant Microsoft Corporation has suggested a whopping fee of USD 10,000 [over Rs 5 lakh] for a new category of H-1B visas and USD 15,000 [more than Rs 7.5 lakh] for permanent residency or Green Card. This could raise a huge USD5 billion over a decade, it said.

Both the new categories of H-1B and Green Cards, according to the Microsoft plan, would have an annual capacity of 20,000 and would be restricted to STEM [science, technology, engineering and math]. The money thus raised, according to the US company, would be used for the STEM education programs. Given that Indian techies grab the maximum number of H-1B visas, such a proposal if accepted by the Congress would hit the Indian IT companies the most.

Such a proposal from Microsoft comes at a time when the visiting external affairs minister, S M Krishna, is expected to raise the issue of increase in H-1B visas last year in his meeting with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in New York early this week. The proposal was revealed at a Washington-based think-tank gathering last week by Brad Smith, general counsel & executive vice president, legal & corporate Affairs, of Microsoft.

He said the money thus raised would be used to generate the necessary skilled manpower in the coming years. Microsoft currently has an opening of 6,000 jobs in the country.
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