Microsoft, Intel, Facebook lead tech charge for immigration reform

Several Silicon Valley tech titans, including Microsoft, Intel and Facebook, spent lots of time and money lobbying Washington for immigration reform during 2012.
Lauren Hepler
Jan 22, 2013,

Last Friday, the latest edition of the Business Journal outlined the stakes of the looming battle over immigration reform in Washington, with immigrant-founded tech companies in Silicon Valley generating 58,000 jobs and $17 billion in sales as far back as 1998.
Tech companies know the stakes of this debate for high-skill talent better than almost any other industry, with employer-sponsored visas and green card issues affecting their ability to attract and retain the best talent worldwide.

As a result, Silicon Valley heavy hitters are making sure Washington gets the message. Here is a breakdown of the companies lobbying for immigration reform, along with each company’s 2012 lobbying total for all federal issues:

  • Microsoft, which spent $5.6 million lobbying federal policymakers in 012, lobbied on 12 issues related to immigration. Those issues included H-1B employer-sponsored visas, employment-based green cards and legislation targeted at high-skill workers, like the Startup Visa Act and STEM Jobs Act, neither of which were enacted.

  • Intel spent $2.7 million on lobbying last year, including seven issues related to immigration. Intel’s lobbyists worked on H-1B visas, green cards, the Start Up 2.0 Act and legislation to permit gay and lesbian citizens to sponsor foreign-born partners for immigration purposes.

  • Hewlett-Packard spent $5.4 million on lobbying in 2012. HP lobbied on four immigration issues, including a push to reallocate so-called “diversity visas” to foreign job seekers with advanced degrees.

  • Facebook spent $2.6 million on its 2012 lobbying efforts, including federal immigration issues. Specific policy priorities for Facebook included visa reform for foreigners educated in STEM disciplines and abolishing per-country visa limitations highly-skilled foreign workers.