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Microsoft says lay-offs won’t target foreign workers

Specialized foreign professional are few and will be laid off proportionally

06 March 2009 – Responding to criticism that its planned job-cuts would impact American employees more than its foreign workers, Microsoft Corp. held out, pledging it would not carry out any such discrimination.

In a letter sent Tuesday to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, D-Iowa, Microsoft General Counsel Bradford L. Smith said the company would not base its decisions on an employee’s citizenship.

Hence, most of the 5,000 jobs eliminated will be held by U.S. citizens, who make up a majority of the company’s workforce, Smith said.

"Workers on H-1B visas and other temporary work visas make up only a small percentage of our overall workforce, but they were also among the employees impacted by the reductions announced in January," Smith said.

H-1B employees (that is temporary workers employers employed in specialty occupations) make up less than 15% of Microsoft’s U.S. workforce, he added.

In January, Grassley wrote a letter to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer urging that Microsoft prioritize U.S. citizens over foreign workers when it came to the cuts.

"During a layoff, companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work visa program employees over qualified American workers," Grassley wrote.

Source: CNN Money

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