Immigration Restrictions Limiting Supply of Programmers

1 Feb ’05

The Register reports that the restrictions on US immigration enacted since 911 have limited immigration of software developers to the point where Microsoft is actively lobbying for the problem to be addressed.  Money quotes from Bill Gates’ comments at Davos:

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, Gates described the fall in visiting foreign computing students as a "disaster". After September 11, the US government moved to restrict the number of students from certain countries. Applicants had to pay more and wait longer for visas.

Gates, quoted in the FT, said: "“There has been a 35 per cent drop in Asians coming to our computer science departments. It really is a very bad thing for a very key area.” Gates said the US’s position as "global IQ magnet of the world" was threatened by the fall in student numbers.

I have not heard that this is a problem in Canada, even though it’s well know that many of the best developers in Canada have immigrated here from India and Russia.

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