Top IT firms see 37% drop in H-1B visas in 2016

Top IT firms see 37% drop in H-1B visas in 2016
Top seven IT services companies, led by TCS, Wipro and Infosys, collectively registered a whopping 37% drop in the total H-1B visa petitions approved in 2016 compared with the previous year.

A report published by the Washington-based non-profit think-tank, National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) states that Bengaluru-based Wipro and Infosys registered a decline of 52% and 16%, respectively along with TCS which registered the largest decline of 56%.

The report accessed by DH, states that the top 7 companies received only 9,356 new H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2016, a drop of 37% between FY 2015 and FY 2016.

“These are petitions filed during the April 2016 H-1B filing period and approved in FY 2016 for individuals to start work from October 1, 2016 (the start of the fiscal year 2017). That represents a drop of 5,436 approved petitions for initial employment for the seven companies from FY 2015,” the report stated. The 9,356 new petitions approved for the top 7 Indian companies in FY 2016 represent only 0.006% of the US labour force.

According to NFAP executive director Stuart Anderson, H-1B visa was a political weapon in the US. “In the past, US policymakers have used the number of visas going to India-based companies as a political or policy reason to propose new immigration restrictions and to not raise the low annual supply of H-1B visas, which has been exhausted every year for the past 15 fiscal years,” said Anderson. The NFAP report states that H-1B petitions approved for initial employment in FY 2016 were filed by employers in April 2016, which show the drop in H-B visa use by these companies is not due to Donald Trump’s election.

“Instead, the decline reflects, in part, industry trends, particularly digital services such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, that require fewer people to service US company clients,” states the report.
Tech Mahindra had 348 fewer H-1B petitions approved for initial employment in FY 2016 than in FY 2015, a 22% decline. Mindtree had a 30% decline in FY 2016 from FY 2015, with 137 fewer approved initial petitions.

Among the top companies with new H-1B petitions approved in 2016 were Cognizant (3,949), Infosys (2,376), TCS (2,040), Accenture (1,889), IBM (1,608), Wipro (1,474), Amazon (1,416), Tech Mahindra (1,228), Capgemini (1,164), Microsoft (1,145), HCL America (1,041), Intel (1,030), Deloitte (985), Google (924) and Larsen &Toubro (870).

The report states the April 2017 unemployment rate in the US for ‘computer and mathematical science’ occupations was 2.5% – a very low rate, even lower than the 4.4% for ‘all occupations,’ according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics data.

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