Friday, March 6, 2009

Senator Charles Grassley asks Microsoft to fire H1b workers first

Senator Charles Grassley, a high-profile Republican politician, has suggested to Microsoft that it sack foreign workers before Americans in a protectionist outburst highlighting the increased tensions surrounding migrant labour during a recession.
"I am concerned that Microsoft will be retaining foreign guest workers rather than similarly qualified American employees when it implements its layoff plan," Grassley said in the letter, posted to his Web site on Friday.
The company announced plans Thursday to cut a net 2,000 to 3,000 jobs over the next 18 months, its first companywide layoff. An initial wave of 1,400 job cuts were effective Friday.
The senator asked Ballmer for details on the jobs to be eliminated; how many are held by H-1B or other work-visa-program employees; how many are held by Americans and, of those positions, how many similar positions held by foreign guest workers are being retained; and how many H-1B or other work-visa-program workers Microsoft will retain when the layoff is complete.
"My point is that during a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work-visa-program employees over qualified American workers," Grassley wrote.
"Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force. ... Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times."
In response to a query about Grassley's letter, Microsoft said the initial layoffs include foreigners working here on visas.
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