Indians account for 86% H-1B visas at US computer-related firms

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2015 22:30 IST

Indians accounted for nearly 86% of H-1B visas issued in 2014 for computer-related positions at US firms, according to a report based on previously undisclosed government data.

They remain way ahead of their competition from other countries, which has been known, but only anecdotally, with claims swirling about of even higher numbers.

These are temporary positions, typically defined as outsourced, that are at the heart of an ongoing debate in the US about the H-1B programme and whether its good or bad for the country.

Critics oppose it saying its merely enabling US firms to bring in cheap high-skill workers from abroad, mostly from India, to replace better-paid, more expensive local hires.

Supporters of the programme have argued that the US is not producing enough skilled workers in IT and related fields and exporting them is a necessity, not just a cost-cutting tool.

The US currently grants 65,000 H-1B visas every year to bring highly skilled foreign workers in IT and other fields, with 20,000 more for foreigners studying there.

An analysis of government data obtained under the freedom of information Act showed nearly 86% visas for computer positions went to Indians, according to Computerworld.

The rest went to foreign workers from China, Canada and few other countries, Indians also grabbed the largest chunk of engineering-related H-1Bs, according to the report.

The publication didn't state actual numbers.

US companies are not required to publicly declare the ethnic or country-wise composition of outsourced positions; and neither is it mandatory for outsourced firms.

Indian companies with a substantial presence in the US, such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro, do not declare how many of their employees are locally hired and how many are from India.

But they have said time and again it’s their intention to increase their local hirings substantially, and that the number of US American workers on their rolls is increasing every year.

Critics, specially employees laid off as result of offshoring, claim otherwise. Some of them have sued Indian companies accusing them of discriminating against locals.

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