By reading Priya’s post [Technical Careers @ Microsoft] today, it seems that the quota on H1-B visa for working in U.S. this is getting this software giant more head ache. Actually on May 25, 2006, its chairman Bill Gates had already made a statement regarding this issue. I suspect there are many other U.S. companies which are highly demanding on technology professionals are suffering from this problem too.
While there are many talented attorneys at Microsoft are working very hard on many petitions, I am wondering if Microsoft has ever thought about an alternative solution to get smart people without restricted by limitations such as visa quota. Inspired by the fact that Microsoft has settled R&D departments in China and India, an idea has came to me: Why not set up another R&D department in Vancouver, BC, Canada?
By checking a map, we see that it is only 2~3 hours driving from Redmond to Vancouver. This is very different from other R&D departments far away from United States, that the advantage of distance can make the corporate communication very tight. Yes, you are right that Microsoft is well known of long distance collaboration and there are many cases that the developers in Shanghai and Redmond working together seamlessly. But what is suggested here is more of an extension to the headquarter rather than another subsidairy company.
The most important point is that, obtaining a working visa in Canada is much less time consuming than doing the same thing in U.S., which make it a solution to the current visa quota. Intuitively, such change is going to accelerate the overall product development with no doubt. There are many products out there are develop to help the collaborative development, such as its own product Live Meeting.
I believe there must be some other people share the similar idea with me, but certainly I am not familiar with laws and other limitation involved in this idea . So, correct me if I am wrong. =)