Bill Gates says US curb on skilled migrant labour will be a ‘mistake’

Friday, July 24, 2009

NEW DELHI - Microsoft founder Bill Gates Friday said it would be a “big mistake” if the US imposes curbs on the entry of skilled workers from abroad, putting his weight behind “smart people” from countries like India who want to work overseas.

“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,” Gates, here for overseeing the philanthropic activities of his foundation, said in an interaction with India Inc.

“The US Congress is very tough on immigration. But why not make an exception for smart people?” said Gates while addressing an interactive session organised by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).

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.

Gates said he was also keen to partner India in its ambitious plan to issue a single identity card and number to its 1.17 billion citizens for which a new authority has been formed under Infosys Technologies co-founder Nandan Nilekani.

“Microsoft wants to be part of the Unique Identification Authority of India project,” he said, adding that he hoped to meet with Nilekani to discuss the issue.

Filed under: Infosys, Microsoft

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