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Personal history may thrust new Microsoft CEO into visa debate

Patrick Thibodeau | Feb. 6, 2014
Nadella's personal story may become an argument for backers of immigration reform

The 120,000 jobs claim is disputed in an Economic Policy Institute report, authored by policy analyst Daniel Costa. The report says that Microsoft's data only assumes that individuals with a bachelor's degree in computer science can fill jobs in computer-related occupations. About one-fourth to less than one-half of workers in computing occupations have a computer science degree, the study concluded.

Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said the CEO appointment likely won't impact the policy debate, and he expects Nadella will continue Microsoft's current course on lobbying.

"Microsoft's lobbyists and executives have played the leading role in misinforming the public and policymakers about how the H-1B and L-1 visa programs are used in practice," says Hira.

This is the storm that Nadella, whether he wants to or not, will now be part of.

In his letter to employees, Nadella, didn't explore such global issues, but told his employees: "Like you, I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world. I saw then how clearly we empower people to do magical things with our creations and ultimately make the world a better place."


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