Billionaire Thomas Siebel on immigration: US should be stapling green cards to college diplomas

  • Billionaire tech CEO Thomas Siebel said the country should be working harder to keep international students.
  • Siebel echoed sentiments in Silicon Valley that the tech hub is facing a talent shortage.
  • He said it makes "no sense at all" to bar qualified foreign students from staying in the country after graduation.

As a fix for Silicon Valley's talent gap, billionaire tech CEO Thomas Siebel said the U.S. should work harder to keep international students, and be "stapling green cards to their diplomas."

The CEO of C3 IoT, a software company centered on the so-called internet of things, told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" it makes "no sense at all" to bar qualified foreign students from staying in the country after graduation.

"We're spending enormous federal dollars, tax dollars training and educating these people and then we don't allow them to work for us," he said.

Siebel echoed the sentiments out of Silicon Valley that the tech hub is facing a talent shortage, forcing some companies to look outside the field for hires.

"The students that we're graduating out of Stanford, Harvard, Illinois, Berkeley, who are getting their master's degrees, Ph.D.s in, say, data science, AI and computer science," Siebel said. "We're making them go home. I mean this is crazy."

President Donald Trump has made immigration a focus for his administration — calling for a bipartisan plan to address the issue in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Democrats, some Republicans, and tech giants worry tighter restrictions and stricter vetting will keep skilled workers out of the country and further exacerbate the talent shortage.