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The issue of H-1B visas did come up at the President-elect Donald Trump’s Tech Summit earlier this week, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stressing its importance in bringing and retaining talent. Trump listened, but made no promises.
The Trump transition team had issued a statement after the meeting, but gave no details, except that the President-elect and the tech leaders discussed job creation. It made no mention of immigration, a thorny issue between him and Silicon Valley.
But a leading web publication focused on IT news, Recode quoted sources in a report saying, “Nadella pointed out that much of the company’s spending on research and development was in the US, even if 50% of the sales were elsewhere, so that immigration would benefit those here.”
To the surprise of many in the group, Trump responded favourably. “Let’s fix that,” he said, without any specifics, and went on to ask, “What can I do to make it better?”
Apple’s Tim Cook brought up STEM (science, technology engineering and math) education and so did Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, with added emphasis on the need for focussing on women and unrepresented minorities.
Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt urged Trump on upgrading governmental information-technology programmes and mentioned Trump could become the “Software President”. The President-elect misheard that as “soft” president.