Microsoft and the issue of skilled immigration

Microsoft and the issue of skilled immigration

This is a real hot topic.

Immigrants are great. That is what this country is built upon. But I am talking more specifically about skilled immigration.

From reading about what Silicon Valley executives have to say and my usual look at various tech blogs, I have to say that tech salaries are commonly in the six figures. The other thing is when you look at companies like Microsoft and its competitors in firms like Google and Apple, money is not an issue.

These large companies want the best and brightest in order to stay competitive and make sure that they get the best products out there. The world of technology thrives on competition and this is something that Bill Gates often said. It is the competition that lends to innovation and this innovation seems to be coming from immigrants more often than not.

The problem in America right now is that too few people are studying the Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) fields and even when they do they move in to non-STEM careers. Only four percent of the globe’s undergraduate engineering pool have degrees from American universities.

Major tech centers across the United States have a low unemployment rate. The fact of the matter is that tuition increases and the increasing student loan debt have made Americans become fearful of going into STEM fields because of the risk they come with. Microsoft is hosting a skilled immigration conference and there will be a lot of discussion about this as it relates to corporate interests, politics and public policy.

The problem is that there is no hard data for economists to work on. Protectionism is not a bad thing, but the model of getting the best and brightest to come to America has paid dividends and will continue to do so.