U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a far-right conservative known for his hard stance against immigration reform, just condemned Microsoft’s newest round of layoffs.
The company announced on Wednesday that it was cutting 7,800 jobs in addition to 18,000 it cut in its last fiscal year.
His beef? As Microsoft has snipped huge number of workers from its payroll, its been pushing Congress to revamp the H1-B visa program to allow it, and other US companies, to hire more foreign workers for US job openings.
Microsoft has just announced it is laying off another 7,800 workers, on top of the 18,000 layoffs it has already announced. This means Microsoft has shed roughly 1/5th of its workforce in the past couple years. And yet Microsoft, perhaps more than any other major U.S. company, has claimed it suffers from a shortage of American workers and must therefore import more H-1B foreign guest workers.
He’s right that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been advocating for an expansion of the H1-B program for years.
Plus, Microsoft and other tech giants have been pushing this year to pass the I-Squared Act which would raise the annual base cap for H-1B visas from 65,000 people to 195,000 and allow all students who earn STEM degrees at US universities to take jobs here after they graduate.
Interestingly, Microsoft’s ongoing layoffs haven’t cause it to trim usage of H1-B visas much.
Microsoft is often among the Top 10 biggest users of H1-B visas.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s use of foreign workers pales in comparison to the biggest users: Indian outsourcing firms like Infosys, Tata and WiPro who brought in 8,000-23,000 workers in 2015 alone, according to MyVisaJobs.com.
We should point out that it’s a bit of red herring to equate Microsoft layoffs with H1-B hiring, too. Microsoft’s layoffs have been global. The biggest number of workers affected were those it inherited when it acquired Nokia, many in Nokia’s home country, Finland.
And Senator Sessions has a history of blasting tech companies on this issue. He condemned Microsoft’s layoffs last year, too, for the same reason.
In September, he made waves when he spoke out against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for his non-profit pro-immigration organisation FWD.us. This inspired a tweet storm from powerhouse VC, Marc Andreessen, who called the senator’s remarks “clinically insane.”
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