The opening of this CNBC report on Microsoft and immigration policy says it all:
Microsoft does not want to move jobs out of the United States but certain decisions out of Washington could potentially force its hands, the company’s President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith warned.
This of course is an age-old threat by the industry: “Allow us to bring more foreign workers here, or we will move the work abroad!” This always resonates with Congress, conjuring up images of shuttered factories in the Northeast and South. But its one of the more deceptive lines in the H-1B debate.
First, of course, is that pesky little fact that Microsoft is overwhelmed with US job applicants, plenty of whom are well-qualified. The notion that Microsoft’s work won’t get done without foreign workers is just plain false.
But more interestingly, the two-faced nature of Microsoft’s statements like this has been exposed in the past. Back in 2001, for instance, a Microsoft employee smuggled out an internal slide presentation which contained the exhortation, “Pick something to move offshore today!” In other words, instead of being forced to offshore work, the firm was actively seeking to do so. Microsoft has also been caught asking its contract workers to take a furlough, and admitting that most of its jobs are not open to older workers. All this, of course, while continually claiming they need foreign workers to fill their jobs.
The CNBC reported here should have been a little less trusting.