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The top 10 H-1B visa users in the U.S.

Patrick Thibodeau and Sharon Machlis | Jan. 30, 2012
Offshore outsourcing companies continued to make up the majority of the top 10 H-1B visa users in 2011, according to new government data. These offshore firms have been adding employees by the thousands as their revenues increase.

Offshore outsourcing companies continued to make up the majority of the top 10 H-1B visa users in 2011, according to new government data. These offshore firms have been adding employees by the thousands as their revenues increase.

Cognizant, a New Jersey-based IT services provider with major operations overseas, led the list. The company had 4,222 initial or new visas approved and 1,493 renewal petitions.

Google was last on the list, with 383 new H-1B visas and 232 renewals.

Offshoring is showing signs of being a major political issue this year, but opinions remain divided.

Top H-1B visa approvals by company

Company

Visa approvals

Cognizant

5715

Infosys

4042

Wipro

2817

Tata

1758

Larsen & Toubro

1608

Microsoft

1586

Accenture

1370

HCL America

1128

IBM

1063

Google

615

   

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Computerworld combined multiple versions of a company's name, such as Infosys Tech Ltd and Infosys Technologies Limited, as well as some separate entities under the same corporate umbrella, such as IBM Corp. and IBM India Private Ltd.

President Barack Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. But he hasn't coupled offshore outsourcing with visa usage. One of the leading Republican candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has called for eliminating the H-1B cap and says the cap policy is wrong.

The data for this story comes from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. One list shows new applications for H-1B visas; the second list shows the combined totals for new visas and renewals. A H-1B visa must be renewed every three years.

The U.S. issues 85,000 H-1B visas annually. Of that number, 20,000 are reserved for advanced degree graduates of U.S. universities.

In total, the new visa applications from the top 10 users account for 22% of all the visas allowed by the U.S. each year. But offshore providers probably have a much larger percentage of the visas issued under the 65,000 cap, which includes graduates for foreign universities. An exact breakdown isn't available.

"Once again, the offshore outsourcing industry [is] the major [beneficiary] of the H-1B program," said Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. "Eight of the top 10 H-1B employers use offshoring business models and are clearly exploiting loopholes in the H-1B program."

 

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