Mar 5 2009
Microsoft’s General Counsel Provides Insight Into the Effect of Lay-Offs on Its H-1B Program
On March 3, Bradford Smith, General Counsel for Microsoft Corp., responded to Sen. Charles Grassley’s request for more information about the company’s plans to eliminate up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months.
The full text of Smith’s response is online at: http://microsoftontheissues.com/cs/blogs/mscorp/archive/2009/03/03/microsoft-responds-to-senator-grassley.aspx.
Highlights of the letter include Smith’s statement that the lay-offs planned by Microsoft will occur here in the U.S. and throughout the world, with the largest amount of lay-offs occurring in Washington State (where the largest amount of Microsoft employees work). Smith reiterated that lay-offs would affect U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike and employees inside the U.S. and throughout the world.
In addition, in his letter, he reinforced Microsoft’s belief and support of the H-1B program, stating the importance of companies like Microsoft being able to continue recruiting exceptional talent from throughout the world:
“H1-B employees have always accounted for less than 15 percent of Microsoft’s U.S. workforce, the level that is used in immigration law to determine whether a company is “H-1B dependent.” Nonetheless, the ability to tap into the world’s best minds has long been essential to our success. Although they are a small percentage of our workforce, H-1B workers have long made crucial contributions to Microsoft’s innovation successes and to our ability to help create jobs in this country. We are confident this will continue to be true in the future.”
Smith also commented in his letter that Microsoft does not plan to reduce significantly the proportion of H-1B employees in its workforce after this planned lay-off of 5,000 employees.