50% of H-1B visas in 2013 went to offshore companies, mostly in India
WASHINGTON, DC: As the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) opened its doors to this year’s round of H-1B visa applications, data show that about 50% of last year’s H-1B visas were granted to offshore companies, and the top two of those are based in India – Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services.
That 50% number, though large, excludes some of the biggest companies that get H-1B visas, such as Microsoft and Google. Those companies are based on US soil, and therefore don’t factor into the percentage for offshore companies. But several Indian and Indian-related companies made big splashes in 2013. The numbers also only reflect new visa applications and petitions, not renewals
The numbers from the USCIS indicate that Indian companies have been doing very well overall in getting H-1B visas for their employees. Last year, Infosys was able to secure 6,298 H-1Bs, while Tata got just 40 less – 6,258. At number three was Cognizant, which is technically based in New Jersey but has several offices in India and hires a large number of employees from the subcontinent; it managed to obtain 5,185 H-1B visas in Fiscal Year 2013.
That Infosys got the highest number of visas is worth noting, as the company was forced to settle a case with the US Department of Justice last year for close to $35 million under allegations that it was using improper tactics to secure visas for foreign workers.
Wipro had the fifth-highest number of H-1Bs in 2013, at 2,644. IBM – which also hires a large number of Indian workers – placed seventh with 1,624 visas, and Mahindra Group obtained 1,589 H-1Bs, making them #8. Other big Indian and India-related firms making the list are: Birlasoft Inc., Yash and Lujan Consulting, Inc., and Yash Technologies, Inc.
Several of the big-hitters in the IT sector also had a large number of H-1B visas, even though they didn’t factor into the 50% number because they’re based on US soil. Deloitte got 1,491 H-1B visas last year, Microsoft got just over 1,000, Google obtained 753, and Oracle – which is in the middle of a lawsuit for allegedly underpaying Indian workers because of their national origin – got 475.
The US makes available 65,000 H-1B visas per year, and begins accepting applications on April 1. This year, the number of slots is expected to fill up very rapidly, most likely by the end of the week, which means that all applicants – even the ones who got their paperwork in before the quota was reached – are going to be in a lottery to determine who will receive visas.
The H-1B system may undergo drastic changes, however, if the immigration reform bill ever comes to pass (and, at this point, it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon). The bill calls for huge fees to be levied on companies that apply for H-1B and/or L-1 visas for their workers, thereby encouraging them to hire domestically and boost the US economy. Several of the companies mentioned in this article, as well as countries like India, have lobbied hard against the bill.
Credit: The American Bazaar