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With H-1B visa, diversity doesn't apply

Patrick Thibodeau, Sharon Machlis | Aug. 11, 2015
Apple says workforce diversity "inspires creativity and innovation," but one of Apple's major contractors, Infosys, is far from diverse.

But China may have a more developed internal IT market, said Eric Simonson, managing partner for research at the Everest Group, an IT services research and consulting firm. "The domestic IT business in China is stronger than in India, and the Chinese economy is larger and broader than India's economy; together these provide more career opportunities and increase labor rates for technical talent."

Chinese IT workers can work for companies such as Alibaba, an ecommerce site. "In India, these opportunities did not exist until fairly recently -- Flipkart being a hot recent example," he said. Flipkart is also an ecommerce site.

One indicator of imbalance in global visa distribution is to look at how many H-1Bs are going to engineers.

The U.S. issued H-1B visas last year to 8,103 engineers, which includes electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, aeronautical and other engineering specialties. Workers from India still ranked number one but at 47 percent, a percentage that's well below the nearly 86 percent of H-1B visas going to people from India in the computer occupations. China had 19.5 percent of the engineering visas; Canada held 3.4 percent, Korea had 2.4 percent, Mexico held 2.2 percent, and Taiwan and Iran were tied at 2.2 percent each, according to government data obtained by Computerworld.

"This demonstrates just how dominant the outsourcing companies have become," said Russell Harrison, director of government relations at the IEEE-USA, of the number of H-1B visas that go to workers in computer occupations. The IEEE has 60,000 members in India and 40,000 in China.

"If companies were looking around the world to find the best possible candidates for their jobs, you would expect a distribution that was similar to the distribution of engineers on the planet and that's not what you have," said Harrison.

Apple and Aetna were both contacted but didn't have comment by deadline.


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