Nearly half of H1B visa holders are from India: US report

Nearly half of H1B visa holders are from India: US report

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that between 2000 and 2009, 46.9 per cent of the total approved H-1B visa holders had India as their country of birth.

"Between fiscal year 2000 and fiscal year 2009, the majority of approved H-1B workers (initial and extensions for both employers subject to the cap and cap-exempt employers) were born in Asia," said the report titled 'H-1B Visa Programme: Reforms are needed to minimise the risks and costs of current programme'.

"Over the last decade, the top four countries of birth for approved H-1B workers were India, China, Canada and the Philippines. Across all 10 years, about 64 per cent of approved H-1B workers were born in these four countries, with the largest group from India," it added.

Although information on the total H-1B workforce is lacking, data on approved petitions show that, since 2000, most people that were approved to be H-1B workers were born in China or India, were hired for technology positions and increasingly held advanced degrees, it said.

"Using publicly available data on H-1B-hiring employers we learnt that at least 10 of the top 85 H-1B-hiring employers in fiscal year 2009 participate in staffing arrangements, of which at least 6 have headquarters or operations located in India," the report said.

"Together, in fiscal year 2009, these 10 employers garnered nearly 11,456 approvals, or about 6 per cent of all H-1B approvals. Further, 3 of these employers were among the top 5 H-1B-hiring companies, receiving 8,431 approvals among them," it said.

The H1B cap for 2011 quota is 65,000 for general category.

To ensure that the H-1B programme continues to meet the needs of businesses in a global economy while maintaining a balance of protections for US workers, the report recommends that the Congress may wish to consider reviewing the merits and shortcomings of key programme provisions and making appropriate changes as needed.

Such a review may include, but would not necessarily be limited to the qualifications required for workers eligible under the H-1B programme; exemptions from the cap; the appropriateness of H-1B hiring by staffing companies; the level of the cap; and the role the programme should play in the US immigration system in relationship to permanent
residency.

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