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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella once surrendered Green Card for wife

Satya Nadella's book 'Hit Refresh' releases today in the US. (Source: Flickr) Photograph: (Others)

Delhi, India
Sep 26, 2017, 12.55 PM (IST)

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Nadella's book 'Hit Refresh' releases today in the US and explains how he had almost quit the US and returned to India

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had once surrendered his Green Card and applied for an H1-B visa for his wife as the permanent residency was coming in the way of his newlywed wife joining him in the US. Due to existing US laws, his wife Anu was not able to join him in Seattle. 

Nadella releases his book titled "Hit Refresh" in the US today, in which he writes, "So why would I give up the coveted green card for temporary status?"

According to the law, if a Green Card holder gets married, the spouse's visa gets automatically rejected. 

Perturbed by the immigration law, Nadella thought of giving up his Green Card. In fact, at a time early in his career, he was seriously contemplated leaving his job at Microsoft and returning to India. 

Nadella got married to Anu in 1993 and he intended to bring her to the US to live with him, he reveals in his book. 

According to PTI, he explains in his book: "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."

He then went back to the US embassy in Delhi in June of 1994 and told a clerk that he wanted to give back his green card and apply for an H-1B visa.

In the book, he explains: "'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 like people pointing out to me saying 'hey, there goes the guy who gave up his green card'."

According to the PTI report, he told in the book how every other day someone would call him and ask for advice.

On the subject of returning to India, Nadella writes in his book about one of his collegaues, Kunal Bahl, who quit Microsoft when his H1-B ran out. He writes: "He returned to India and then founded Snapdeal, which today is worth more than USD 1 billion and employs five thousand people. Ironically, online, cloud-based companies like Snapdeal would play an important role in my future and that of Microsoft. And the lessons I learned in my former country continue to shape my present."

He also talks about his childhood and writes that by the time he was in 12th grade, his dream was to play cricket for Hyderabad and eventually work for a bank. Nadella was a student of Hyderabad Public School (HPS).

He says: "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."

Nadella says his mother was happy with those plans but his father adviced him to get out of Hyderabad.