Indian IT biggies got maximum H1B visas
India's second largest IT exporter Infosys has received the most number of H1B visas-around 4,559 last year, while Wipro received 2,768 approvals. Besides, the troubled Satyam Computer has managed some 1,919 and the top Indian IT company TCS had around 1,539 H1B permits, as per a data by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). World's biggest software maker Microsoft stood at fourth place in the list with around 1,037 work permits for foreign workers.
"In this environment, it would be very difficult for a newly elected administration to increase the H1B quota beyond 65,000 currently," said a U.S.-based consultant who helps companies file H1B.
Serving customers like GE and Citibank in the U.S., Wipro is looking to leverage its existing H1Bs, apart from delivery centers in the U.S. in order to mitigate any short to medium term risk. Pratik Kumar, corporate VP, HR, Wipro opined, "Based on our inventory of visas and with more work moving offshore, we do not see any short term impact in 2009-2010."
Last year, USCIS granted around 65,000 H1B visas to immigrants from companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, TCS, Infosys and Wipro. Each visas costs around $6,000. It is expected that the need for work permits would be less this year as most of the U.S. customers seek to reduce the IT spend. "It is likely that H1B applications this year may not be as high as past, when the cap used to be reached on the first day or during the first week of filing," said Eshan Joshi, associate VP, HR, Infosys.
However, according to Morley J Nair, a Philadelphia-based immigration attorney, the demand for H1B visas has far exceeded the supply in recent years. In 2007, 1, 23, 480 H-1 B petitions were received in the first two days of filing and USCIS had to stop accepting further petitions.