Posted by Brad SmithGeneral Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Today, the U.S. Senate took a significant first step toward reforming our nation’s broken and outdated immigration system with the introduction of comprehensive legislation by the ‘Gang of 8’ Senators. The bipartisan bill will broaden economic prosperity in both the short and long run by increasing access to the best and brightest talent from around the world, while also providing American students and workers with additional STEM education and training opportunities.
We thank the Senators for their leadership on this proposal and look forward to continuing to help refine the legislation. Microsoft strongly hopes that the legislative process will now move forward, as a comprehensive approach will strengthen our country’s long term economy. The bill contains numerous positive reforms that are essential for the continued growth of the tech sector, such as urgently needed increases in high-skilled visas and solutions to address the extensive backlog in employment-based green cards. It also provides for increased worker portability for visas and removes outdated per country caps for green cards.
Importantly, the legislation also helps us take steps to build our American workforce by establishing a new STEM education fund. The creation of a new STEM fund will help states invest in innovative programs that will build a stronger pipeline of U.S. workers equipped with the right skills for America’s future jobs.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) at a special summit in Maryland focused on privacy in the digital age. The summit marked a key point in a year-long initiative by NAAG President and Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler aimed at exploring the best ways to manage online privacy risks and how best for NAAG to apply its resources to help ensure that the Internet's major players take meaningful steps to protect privacy online. We at Microsoft definitely appreciated the leadership and work of Attorney General Gansler in making privacy a priority for his office. His goals and the goals of NAAG are very much in line with our belief that, done right, online privacy and the economic model that supports the free Web can take a big step forward.
At the outset of 2013, I wrote that this could be a pivotal year for our industry as it pertains to prioritizing people’s online privacy. Now, just a few months into the year, there is substantial cause for optimism.
New leaders with strong commitments to privacy have taken the helm at a number of key groups that will help shape the future of online privacy. Collectively, we’re continuing the hard work needed to reach consensus on standards and rules to better protect people’s information. And consumer groups, as well as consumers themselves, are raising their voices and urging the computing industry to work together to give people more choice and control over how information is collected and shared online.
Posted by Angela CamachoAssociate General Counsel, Microsoft Latin America
For the second year in a row, Women and Social Inclusion is a key topic area we’ll be discussing over the next two days at Microsoft’s annual Government Leaders Forum – Latin America and Caribbean in Rio de Janeiro.
The event brings together government leaders and other influential thinkers to exchange ideas and discuss experiences on the opportunities that Information Technology enables in the region. Distinguished women leaders from the region, including keynote speaker Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the President of Costa Rica, and the Minister of Women’s Policy for Brazil, among others, will join us on a panel to discuss technology and the economic empowerment of women.
Below is a photo from the event. From left to right: Eleonora Menicucci, Minister of Women’s Affairs of Brazil; Beatriz Paredes Rangel, Ambassador of Mexico in Brazil; Lucia Topolansky, First Senator for the Oriental Republic of Uruguay; Alicia Barcena Ibarra, UN Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and The Caribbean (ECLAC); Orlando Ayala, Chairman of Emerging Markets, Microsoft Corporation.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
On March 28, approximately 75 leading policy makers and thought-leaders from industry, nonprofit and government engaged in a discussion on how to ensure that U.S. students and schools have what they need to attain the computer science knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to succeed in the global economy.
The @Microsoft Conversations on Education panel, titled, “Computer Science and Underrepresented Communities: Helping Students Realize Their Full Potential,” began with opening remarks from Microsoft’s Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs Fred Humphries. National Science Foundation Program Director Jeff Forbes, who served as moderator for the panel, opened up the discussion with a presentation that emphasized the importance of computer science and include key statistics framing the issue.
Panelists included (from left to right) National Science Foundation Program Director Jeff Forbes, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer Brian Forde, American Association for the Advancement of Science Director Dr. Yolanda L. Comedy and National Center for Women and Information Technology CEO and Co-Founder Lucy Sanders.
Beginning next week – on April 1 – employers can start filing applications for H-1B visas for skilled workers that they are looking to hire to fill open jobs here in the U.S. Many of these potential workers are foreign-born students about to graduate in science, technology, engineering and math from U.S. universities, and are in demand to fill critical jobs in the U.S. economy.
Each year, there are only 85,000 H-1B visas available for highly skilled individuals – 65,000 visas under the regular “cap” and 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
This year, many employers and highly skilled potential workers are facing April 1 with increased anxiety since the U.S. government again expects all the H-1B visas for the upcoming fiscal year to be snatched up in the first week.