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

Fast-growing IT offshore outsourcing firms are major users

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Microsoft is the largest H-1B user that's not an IT services company. The company has long been an advocate of increasing the number of H-1B visas. Google, too, has been critical of the cap on the H-1B program.

Indian firms have been trying to increase their hiring in the U.S. in response to their concerns that Congress may set restrictions. India-based HCL Technologies said Thursday that it plans to create 10,000 jobs in the U.S. and Europe in the next five years. HCL said its hiring plans are part of an effort to be a "socially responsible business."

HCL doesn't know what portion of those 10,000 jobs would be in the U.S. But it says that whatever that portion turns out to be, 40% will be permanent hires of U.S. workers. That is the percentage it now has in the U.S.

The company employs 7,540 in the U.S. today, which includes those on temporary worker visas, such as the H-1B; permanent resident or green card holders; and U.S. citizens. A spokesman for the company said approximately 40% of that total, or about 3,000 workers, are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

HCL is building five development centers in the U.S. and E.U. in Seattle; Cary, N.C.; Helsinki, Finland; Krakow, Poland; and in Dublin, Ireland.

Cognizant is one of the fastest-growing outsourcing firms.

Cognizant finished its third quarter, which ended in September 2011, with 130,400 workers, an increase of approximately 34,800 from the same quarter in 2010, according to SEC filings. The company, which is due to report its fourth quarter earnings on Feb. 8, is expecting last year's revenue growth to be at least 33%.

The second largest firm is India-based Infosys, which employed 145,000 workers at the end of 2011, an increase of more than 17,000 from the year-ago quarter. This company is facing litigation over its use of the B-1 visa, which is a visitor's visa.

Another Indian giant, Wipro, was at nearly 137,000 employees, up more than 17,000 from the year-ago quarter.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Read more about H-1B visas: How the 'tech worker vsa' is remaking IT in America.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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