Indian firms were largest H-1B users in 2007

H-1B use has spread far and wide; list shows most companies receive only one visa

WASHINGTON -- Indian offshore outsourcing firm Infosys Technologies Ltd. received 4,559 H-1B visas in fiscal 2007, the largest number received by any company, according to the latest figures of "initial beneficiaries" from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

But this new list from USCIS (PDF format) also shows that H-1B use has spread far and wide. It includes more than 29,000 H-1B recipients, both private companies and institutions, such as universities, some of which are exempt from the 65,000 visa cap. Nearly 20,000 of the companies and institutions listed received only one H-1B visa in fiscal 2007.

For that fiscal year, India-based offshore outsourcing companies continued to dominate the top 10 H-1B recipients, with the exception of Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., which runs major offshore operations.

H-1B visas holders may stay in the U.S. for six years. The USCIS list does not include all H-1B visa holders that a company may have, but only the initial beneficiaries for 2007. Many of the largest users have been receiving H-1B visas for years.

In total, the top 20 recipients, mostly India-based offshore companies and large U.S. technology companies, received about 15,640 H-1B visas last year.

The list comes at the start of a big week for the H-1B visa issue. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will testify Wednesday before the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology and will speak Thursday to the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Gates has been an outspoken critic of the cap restrictions in the visa policy.

Gates is the point in the spear of the tech industry's push for more H-1B visas, but Christopher Hansen, president and CEO of IT industry trade association AeA, said today that the election year may make it difficult to get an increase in the visa cap. What the industry may be doing this year, he said, is "laying out the arguments for something that will happen 2009," referring to a potential increase in that year's cap.

Hansen was on a conference call today to lend his support to the National Foundation for American Policy, which argued in a new report (PDF format) that for every H-1B position requested, U.S. companies increase their employment by five workers.

Stuart Anderson, who heads the Arlington, Va.-based foundation, said he relied on publicly accessible Web-based help-wanted ads by companies and reported employment data to show what he says is a statistical relationship between H-1B use and new jobs at these companies. He said that the data didn't indicate what kinds of jobs were created, and that new jobs could range from hourly to executive level.

Using that same Web data, Anderson said large U.S. tech companies average more than 470 job openings for skilled positions, while defense contractors have more than 1,255 each.

A company-by-company breakdown is not available from USCIS for the 2008 federal fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2007. The data, when available, will show the impact of the random lottery on the distribution of the H-1B visas. The USCIS uses a lottery when it receives more than enough applications to meet the cap in the first few days; the lottery was not used in fiscal 2007.

Top H-1B Visa Recipients

Company 2007 2006 Rank in 2006
1. Infosys 4,559 3,189 (2)
2. Wipro Ltd. 2,567 3,246 (1)
3. Satyam Computer Services Ltd. 1,396 1,938 (4)
4. Cognizant Technology Solutions 962 1,028 (6)
5. Microsoft Corp. 959 1,311 (5)
6. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. 797 2,665 (3)
7. Patni Computer Systems Inc. 477 985 (7)
8. U.S. Technology Resources LLC 416 213 (28)
9. I-Flex Solutions Inc. 374 720 (8)
10. Intel Corp. 369 397 (18)
11. Accenture LLP 331 515 (13)
12. Cisco Systems Inc. 324 105 (101)
13. Ernst & Young LLP 302 397 (17)
14. Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd. 292 664 (11)
15. Deloitte & Touche LLP 283 548 (12)
16. Google Inc. 248 178 (39)
17. Mphasis Corp. 248 456 (15)
18. University of Illinois at Chicago 246 57 (31)
19. American Unit Inc. 245 53 (285)
20. JSMN International Inc. 245 159 (50)
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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