February 27, 2009

Indian Firms, Microsoft Top H-1B List

Indian outsourcers, along with Microsoft and Google, again lead the list of companies bringing foreign workers to the U.S. on the H-1B visa program.

According to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), Four India-based companies topped the list:

Infosys Technologies (INFY, India): 4,559 H-1B visas approved in 2008, 4,559 in 2007
Wipro (WIT, India): 2,678 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 2,567 in 2007
Satyam (SAY, India): 1,917 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 1,396 in 2007
Tata (TCS.BO, India): 1,539 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 797 in 2007
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT): 1,018 H-1B visas approved in 2008; 959 in 2007
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG): 248 H-1B visas approved in 2008
Lehman Brothers: 130 H-1B visas approved in 2008

In fiscal year 2007, six of the top 10 visa recipients were based in India; two others among the top 10, Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) and UST Global, are headquartered in the U.S. but have most of their operations in India, according to BusinessWeek

  • The H-1B program, which started in 1990, was set up to allow U.S. companies to import the best and brightest in technology, engineering, and other fields when such workers are in short supply domestically.
  • The H-1B visa program is currently capped at 65,000 per year, with another 20,000 set aside for advanced-degree graduates of U.S. universities.

USCIS will begin taking H-1B applications for the next fiscal year on April 1 and will distribute the new visas on Oct. 1.

Source: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS)


  1. Why do Indian companies need H-1B visas – to bring Indians to… India? I am confused.

    Comment by Lassie Klue — February 27, 2009 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  2. #2: Indian companies, registered in US, are bringing indians to this country

    Comment by DF — February 27, 2009 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  3. But if they are Indian companies, why are they registered in the US? Doesn’t that make them US companies? Or vice versa?

    This is very confusing!

    Comment by Lassie Klue — February 27, 2009 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  4. Why are they opening up H1s .There are so many jobless american engineers in the US where is the need for more h1bs

    Comment by Jackbauer — February 27, 2009 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

    • Friend, Welcome to Globalization… Whole world is one open market now.. Many USA companies are selling products in India and China & 100s of other countries., If everyone decides to not to buy USA products, imagine the situation of US economy… No offense but the reality..

      Comment by Orcell — March 2, 2009 @ 8:29 am | Reply

      • Orcell – I agree open markets are great for products and services – open boarders aren’t. The H1b program is abused by employers to under-cut wages in this country by bringing in workers from developing nations. I know of 5 people displaced recently by H1b holders from one of the 10 companies listed. One of them was displaced at the end of a contract he had with a small company but was encouraged by the client to apply for a posted job by one of the companies listed above in-hopes of keeping his services. He applied, and was offered a salary that was 40% lower than what he was making for the same work at the same client. When he declined the offer, an H1b empolyee filled the position. The H1b program lacks safegards to prevent this kind of manipulation by large companies who’s entire cost structure is based on importing employees to this country who will work for less. If the work goes offshore – well that’s one thing and I don’t think we can or should do anything about it, but if the work it here onshore, we shouldn’t be dealing with brand-new H1b holders while our unemployment rate tops 8.1%

        Comment by Jimmy — March 6, 2009 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  5. #3. It’s kind of like the Japanese car take over in the 70’s. But instead selling cheaper cars, India inserts bodies into the U.S workforce that take cheaper wages and give the profits to their Indian companies. Indian workers are not better than U.S workers. Some are good and some are bad like US workers. But the main point is a lot of H-1B’s have fake degrees or some just get a two week training class from Infosys and are sent over to take U.S jobs from people with B.S’s and M.S’s. That’s what we totally disagree with.

    Comment by anon — February 27, 2009 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

    • #5, I do agree that there may be few fake degrees for H1B, But Infosys is not a training center, It is very reputed company. I worked there before, very ethical. Their hiring process is very best, & they hire very talented people. AND, they sponsor H1B only if the person has at least 2 years of IT experience. It is a fact that US still needs lots of qualified immigrants. These top IT companies are helping US companies to do business efficiently.
      US Companies like IBM, Oracle, MSFT hires 1000s of people in India / China and fires in USA. Can you stop that??

      Comment by Orcell — March 2, 2009 @ 8:10 am | Reply

    • That’s what happened to me at SunTrust Bank. I was forced to train my “offshore partner” with Infosys to take my job at the bank if I wanted to get a severance package. We were all told to either cooperate, or be fired. Gotta love globalization – we’ve systematically taken American jobs and given them to foreigners and we wonder how we got into our current economic mess. I’m not saying that this is the main reason where we are today, but it certainly has been a contributing factor, among many other poor decisions that have been made in the past 20 years in this country. What really kills me is that the top wage earners in this country have recklessly put our entire country into a black hole. Yet, you never hear of CEO’s having their jobs offshored due to lack of talent in the US – what a crock of you know what.

      Comment by JHicks — March 4, 2009 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  6. Get real guys!! The top 10 doesnt even add up to more than 15k, which is not even 20% of 85k limit. Stop making it look like the only reason h1b existed was for Indians. Get a life!

    Comment by anon — February 27, 2009 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  7. #5 Why do they need to send Indians work to the US if they take all the profit to India? Wouldn’t it be easier for them just to stay in India and work there and keep the profit there, too? I mean, the US isn’t exactly the cheapest place to keep the workers, is it?

    Comment by Lassie Klue — February 27, 2009 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

    • Ok.. to explain you better, two types of companies from India / China, one is IT Vendors, they place few people at client’s place (for ex. USA) as front end to the business, then 100s of people works from offshore. This is lot of savings and scalability for US business. So, Indian companies need H1B for few employees to place in USA.

      Second type of companies are just body shopping, they will have placement service in USA, they hire & sponsor H1B from abroad and send them for a contract of full time position to US employers.
      Both the ways, USA companies sees lots of savings… Hope it is clear now.

      Comment by Orcell — March 2, 2009 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  8. #7 Yeah, that is happening too, it’s both ways.

    Comment by Topi Wala — February 27, 2009 @ 11:40 pm | Reply

  9. #7 – No that is not cost savings. Cost savings must also increase profit and stock price.
    Stock price is down 80% since 2000. The stock is down 57% since 2007. The stock is down today. In the 1990’s the stock price went up.
    Clearly,the plan does not work and is not cost savings, it is HUGH EXPENSE and costs companies more for all those legal ramifications.

    Comment by NotCostSavings — March 2, 2009 @ 11:13 am | Reply

    • It’s a myth that offshoring American jobs saves money for American companies. I worked with a strategic reporting and analytics group at SunTrust Bank, so I got to see all the ROI reports outlining costs and supposed savings. There were no savings. It cost HUGE amounts of money to set up the offshore operations, we experienced very high turnover, dissatisfied customers, and the bank was barely breaking even. When I personally questioned the top person in consumer lending about offshoring via a company wide conference call set up to answer employee questions, I was told they had to do it because everyone else was doing it. Some answer – huh – this coming from someone who was surely making millions of dollars a year in salary, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.

      Comment by JHicks — March 4, 2009 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  10. […] Indian Firms, Microsoft Top H-1B List [Discussion thread] […]

    Pingback by Today’s Hot Layoff Topics « — March 2, 2009 @ 12:09 pm | Reply

  11. Friends,
    I saw many people leaving for US on H-1B Visa and working there for year to reach senior positions in their organizations. I know couple of people who are my relatives and a dozen other who are my family friends who are in senior positions in their organizations.

    It they were just hired to provide cheap labor, how are they in senior positions now? In the globalized world, there are benefits and pains.

    The benefit is that technology and expertise available at once place is easily available and can be used at anyother place of the world.

    The disadv is seen when the local people start suffering, like the current layoffs, etc.

    I am sure it is not just cheap labor that is encouraging companies to look for expats, but mainly the skills they have and the they bring to the organization.

    Imagine there is no way to hire outside workforce. Just take the case of a doctor. If a specialist in a particular area of medicine is required and if the skills are very limited in a country and are abundant in other part of the world. In case some one wants to operated, they need to put in lot of expenses in terms of Visa’s, travel expenses if they want to get it treated. Instead if the professional is allowed to work anywhere in the work, they can be smart enough to identify the place where their skills are short and can move to that places.

    Globalization has both benefits and drawbacks..

    These days most ppl are looking at drawbacks..

    Hope the layoffs disaster will end soon..

    Comment by Subbu — March 4, 2009 @ 9:19 am | Reply

    • Sorry – but I will never, ever believe that America has benefitted from offshoring American jobs. Think about how many people live in this country? To say that there is a lack of “talent” is the single worst insult thrown at Americans. Those of us who are bold enough to seek higher education do so by bringing on an enormous financial burden on ourselves. A financial burden that often carries through the better part of one’s adult lifetime. If companies and America in general think we lack talent, then finance American education so that Americans can obtain the “talent” they seek in Americans. Companies could do what they used to do – bring folks in and offer on the job training and education. I guarantee you there are far more people in America who would love nothing better than to further their education, but are financially prohibited from doing so. Seeking employees outside of one’s own country is a betrayal. Here’s my question that I’ve always asked – what happens when so many Americans lose their jobs that they can no longer be contributing consumers? Do American companies, i.e. banks, think that folks in Baglore are going to conduct their banking business with them in the US? It’s really a very simple question, but clearly illustrates one of the fatal flaws in offshoring American jobs.

      Comment by JHicks — March 4, 2009 @ 9:41 pm | Reply

      • Offshoring is not just to save money. The US economy is saturated and will not grow at the same rate as before. China and India are growing faster and the potential market there is much bigger. You can continue to harp on the extreme poverty but when the population is greater than a billion, there are plenty of consumers with decent purchasing power. US companies have set up shop in those countries with the expectation that they can eventually tap into the Asian market. Currently, the offshore centers are used to serve mostly US based customers but eventually the focus is going to shift to the local economies. The short term focus may have been to save some labor cost but the long term goal for companies that offshore is to tap into faster growing markets.

        Comment by Amused — March 6, 2009 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

    • Sabbu,

      About half of my friends came to the US on an H1b or a student visa. My wife even came here on a visa before she became a citizen. A few nut-jobs aside, I don’t think anyone can argue that the H1b program has benefits and that some of the people are top-notch.

      But I dispute your claim that all are in senior positions today – that’s simply not been my experience. Many are – but over the past 5 years, especially when the limit was raised a couple of years ago, the quality of workers declined to where I firmly believe we weren’t bringing in quality employees, but simply cheap labor. Today the consulting work I do has suffered an hourly rate decline of about 30% – part of this is directly realted to the number of technical consulting firms employing fresh-off-the-boat H1b holders who are so green they need training to do their job.

      I’m currently lucky to be employed because I have a client who values the experience I bring to my job. But I wonder how much longer as this same client has a contract with one of the companies listed above who employ H1b employees at 60% of the salary of other US citizens I know who do very similar work including me. Now I’ve been training these green H1b holders since that’s part of my job – and some of them will grow into being able to do large parts of my job. But they’ll never see the compensation I see today. And pretty soon – I may have no compensation at all – or will have to work at a compensation package that much lower to put food on the table.

      Bottom line is I am one of these US citizens that holds these senior positions and can do this work. And I know many more that can as well. I’m being squeezed simply on cost – not ability. The H1b program is all about finding workers whe we don’t have any – not about saving money at companies – that is what is wrong and that’s why you’re seeing a backlash that could get ugly if the economy gets worse.

      Comment by Jimmy — March 6, 2009 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

      • Whoops – meant to say people cannot claim that the progam has no merits – meaning the H1b program did at one time have positive benefits.

        Comment by Jimmy — March 6, 2009 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  12. These Indian IT companies book their H1B visas in advance. I bet out of 4559 visas they received last year, not more than 2000 visa holders would be in USA at any given time. They just send them for 2-3 months in a year and waste the entire 6 year visa limit. This results in the quota being exhausted and other qualified workers not being able to get a visa. They keep the H1B holders in India most of the time and pay them Indian salary.

    Comment by Don — March 6, 2009 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  13. from what i’ve seen, Indian companies or engineers have relatively lower innovation. They never take the pioneer to do the challenge things first, yet they can follow your steps well after you’ve figured out the complicated steps or solutions. Then they will try to push out the original contributors out of the loop, making the new field as their own private yard.

    You may see many inventors from Europe, Russia, China etc., yet very few from India though they took ~50% H1Bs of the cap

    Comment by Jac — March 7, 2009 @ 9:04 am | Reply

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