Oracle (ORCL), Microsoft (MSFT) and tech giants are making a last-ditch push to get Congress to increase the amount of skilled workers they let into the country under the H1-B Visa.
Applications for the H1-B lottery are accepted starting Tuesday, and last year the quota was filled on the first day. Congress grants 65,000 visas per year. The workers can stay for up to six years, but they have to apply for extensions for the last three. (Surprisingly, Silicon Valley may not be the biggest H1-B hub: In 2006, California accounted for 18.2% of H1-B visas granted that year, but the New York area got 21%.)
The companies are asking Congress to either increase the number or at least use up some of the unused Visas from the early part of the decade when the tech industry was reeling from the burst of the bubble. Bill Gates went to Congress earlier this month with a similar plea. Good luck with that: This is a tough sell under normal circumstances, and nearly impossible during this election cycle.