The biggest issue currently looming large in the minds of Indians working in the U.S. and executives of Indian IT services companies is the impact of the Trump presidency on the H1B visa program. The H1B visa program was conceived in order to give American companies the ability to hire highly-skilled foreign workers in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Each year, a total of 85,000 such visas are given out with 20,000 reserved for applicants with graduate degrees. Critics of the program claim that instead of giving innovative companies the chance to hire skilled talent, the program encourages the transfer of low-paid tech workers from India to the U.S. thereby depressing wages for American workers. Some critics also claim that the process is riddled with fraud. Earlier this year, Infosys settle a lawsuit with the U.S. government for $35 million. The Indian IT giant was accused of abusing the B1 visa program (Business visa) to circumvent the onerous H1B visa lottery process. Infosys did not admit to any wrongdoing.
As the American economy has recovered after the 2008-09 recession, demand for H1B visas has been strong. Lasy tear, a total of 236,000 applications were received for 85,000 visas. Roughly 2 in 3 applicants did not get a visa. Companies and lawmakers have accused Indian IT services/ outsourcing companies of flooding the system with applications to improve the odds of getting enough employees these coveted visas. In this week's chart, we decided to examine which companies bagged most of the H1B visas.
At first blush, it does appear that IT services and outsourcing companies both based in India and outside, have been the biggest recipients of H1B visas. Silicon Valley giants such as Google and Apple are at number 15 and 20 respectively. The largest IT services companies gobbled up more than a third of the H1B visas. President-elect Trump's attorney general pick has criticized the program calling for its suspension while high-profile leaders in Silicon Valley such as Mark Zuckerberg have called for the expansion of the program. Prominent Indian-Americans supported Trump and donated large sums to his campaign. They will have their fingers crossed hoping Trump does not scrap the program.