In his thoughtful biography, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reveals how he surrendered his green card for his newly-wed wife.
In the December of 1993, future Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, married his wife, Anu, who lived in India. With his permanent residency coming in the way of his newly-wed wife joining him in the US, Satya Nadella had surrendered his green card and applied for an H1-B visa, a move which gave him instant notoriety around the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, the India-born CEO revealed.“It was a happy time, but the complications of immigration would soon prove a challenge,” Nadella writes in his new book, Hit Refresh, which officially released on Monday.
In fact, at one point of time, early in his career, even with a green card in his hand, Nadella seriously contemplated leaving his job at the Microsoft and returning to India. This was because his wife Anu was not able to go to Seattle, due to an existing law in the US that if a Green Card holder marries, his/her spouse’s visa is rejected.
“So why would I give up the coveted green card for temporary status? Well, the H1-B enables spouses to come to the US while their husbands and wives are working here. Such is the perverse logic of this immigration law. There was nothing I could do about it. Anu was my priority. And that made my decision a simple one,” Nadella explains in his book.
Mr Nadella says he went back to the US embassy in Delhi in the June of 1994 and told a clerk that he wanted to give back his green card and apply for an H-1B visa. “‘Why?’ the dumbfounded clerk asked. I said something about the crazy immigration policy and he shook his head and pushed a new form to me. The next morning, I returned to apply for an H1-B application. Miraculously, it all worked. Anu joined me (for good) in Seattle, where we would start a family and build a life together. What I didn't expect was the instant notoriety around campus, ‘Hey, there goes the guy who gave up his green card’,” he writes.
Giving an insight into his childhood, Satya writes, “By 12th grade if you had asked me about my dream, it was to attend a small college, play cricket for Hyderabad, and eventually work for a bank. That was it. Being an engineer and going to the West never occurred to me.” Interestingly, Nadella was a student of Hyderabad Public School (HPS).