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Old 07-24-2009, 12:16 PM
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Default 'Big mistake' if US blocks overseas skilled workers: Bill Gates

'Big mistake' if US blocks overseas skilled workers: Bill Gates

Microsoft founder Bill Gates Friday said it would be a ''big mistake'' if the US curbs the entry of skilled workers from abroad, rallying behind the "smart people" from countries like India that has a globally recognised outsourcing industry.

"I can't make any predictions. Immigration policy could get more difficult. Microsoft as a company is very vocal. It would be a big mistake," said Gates, here for overseeing the philanthropic activities of the foundation he has formed with his wife Melinda.

"The US Congress is very tough on immigration. But why not make an exception for smart people?" he said at an interactive session organised by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) at the Durbar Hall of Taj Palace Hotel here.

Gates even maintained that the job market in the US had not shifted anywhere, when asked to respond to US President Barack Obama's comments that he will not like jobs to be taken away from Buffalo to outsourcing companies in Bangalore.
"If we get the statistics, about 1,800 US people are working here (in India).

Even though Gates now devotes most of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has always been vocal about his support for migrant professionals that is reflected in the number of such workers at the Microsoft offices in the US.
According to Nasscom, Indian nationals accounted for 157,726 H1B visas, or 37.8 percent of the 409,619 admissions under this US programme in 2008. This is a drop of about 3,000 professionals compared to 2007.
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