In a new interview with CNBC, Microsoft president Brad Smith discussed politics, the US and China trade war, and more. The most interesting part of the segment, though, revealed that Microsoft could be forced to potentially move jobs out of the United States due to the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
Like many other tech giants, Microsoft hires foreign workers for tech-related jobs, but the Trump administration’s tightening and cuts at some older immigration policies are cutting into talent acquisition. There are two policies which Smith pointed out specifically in his interview— an Obama administration rule which allows spouses of people with non-immigrant H-1B visas to work, and a rule which allows international students to work while applying for a visa. According to Smith, Microsoft doesn’t want to move jobs overseas but the changes in immigration policies leave them with no choice.
“We don’t want to move jobs out of the United States and we hope that we don’t see decision making in Washington that would force us to do that…We’re not going to cut people loose. We’re going to stand behind them…In the world of technology you better stand behind your people because your people are your most valuable asset.”
Smith further detailed that the tightening of and more changes to immigration policies could result in “hundreds of employees [losing] their ability to work in the United States.” He also added that the company has a development center in Vancouver which can be “a bit of a safety valve”
He ended by saying Microsoft feels the need to stand up for immigration “where we feel our interests are at stake.” This was best seen when Microsoft lashed out at the Trump administration for the proposed end to DACA and then stood up for legislation to protect DACA recipients.