Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/12/bill_gates_congress_visa_education/

Bill Gates goes to Washington, again

Pushes for education and immigration reform

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Government, 12th March 2008 12:36 GMT

Bill Gates is expected to testify before the US House Committee on Science and Technology later today, giving Microsoft’s view on the need for education and immigration reform.

Although the committee – which will today be celebrating its 50th anniversary – has no jurisdiction over immigration, Gates will argue that the US technology industry’s global competitiveness will suffer if Congress and the White House doesn’t change its policies on foreign workers.

Gates thinks that relaxing the restrictions on visas would address the shortage of scientists and engineers in the US. He will call for the period of time that foreign students can work in the country after graduation to be extended.

“Companies like Microsoft and organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation cannot address these issues alone," said Gates in a statement. "Only the government has the resources to effect change on a broad scale."

This isn’t the first time the Microsoft chairman has pushed Washington to act on increasing the cap on so-called H-1B visas that are dished out to skilled foreign workers. He made a similar case before a Senate committee last year.

However, it’s probably the last opportunity for the exiting Microsoft boss – who lost his Forbes world’s richest man crown last week – to press flesh with Capitol Hill bods from quite such an elevated position. ®