Big Tech Companies Used More H-1Bs Between 2016 and 2017

Major U.S. technology companies successfully applied for a rising number of H-1B visas between fiscal years 2016 and 2017, according to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a Virginia-based policy research group. Over that same period, there was a decreasing number of successful H-1B petitions by India-based consultancies and IT staffing firms, which often direct workers to tech companies.

Here’s the data breakdown, based on their study:

These companies all spent billions of dollars on research and development, perhaps justifying the need to petition for highly specialized talent from abroad.

As mentioned, the percentage of approved H-1B petitions by many India-based consulting firms fell during that same period. Check it out:

“The drop in H-1B visas for Indian-based companies is due to industry trends toward digital services such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence,” NFAP wrote in a report accompanying its data, “which require fewer workers, and a choice by companies to rely less on visas and to build up their domestic workforces in the United States.”

Under the Trump administration, the federal government has taken some steps to restrict the use of the H-1B visa. The fourth quarter of 2017 saw a rise in H-1B denials and Requests for Evidence (RFEs); there were nearly as many RFEs in the fourth quarter as the first three quarters of last year combined. Updated guidance for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow the federal government to reject visa applications and petitions without asking for any RFE or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).

Earlier this month, a research paper by two researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) suggested that increasing a company’s proportion of H-1B visa-holders translates into measurable gains in innovation.

“There’s been a lot of work by economists on the impacts of the H-1B program mostly focused on the wages and employment of native born workers, but little is known about how immigration affects production at the firm level,” Munseob Lee, an assistant professor of economics at UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and one of the study’s authors, wrote in a press release posted on UCSD’s website. “We find that hiring more immigrant workers is associated with firms introducing new products on the market.”

But critics of the H-1B visa accuse companies of exploiting the system in order to import lower-paid workers. Data from USCIS suggests that H-1B holders at the nation’s top tech firms (such as Apple and Google) make six figures per year, but H-1B holders at consultancy firms (which represented eight of the top ten companies petitioning for the visa) are often paid less. This is a debate that will surely continue well into the future.

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3 Responses to “Big Tech Companies Used More H-1Bs Between 2016 and 2017”

  1. Yeah right…”companies all spent billions of dollars on research and development, perhaps justifying the need to petition for highly specialized talent from abroad.” They bring em in to work the support forums. Ever read the “English” on some of these sites. Terminate the whole H1-B program. It is nothing but an excuse for the Dems to get more future voters and Republican to sell out American workers to Chambr of Commerce and Koch’s

  2. My son wi’ll be graduating from university next year. These companies claim there is a shortage of IT workers so he should have no problem finding a job, right? I mean they say it isnt about money so why hire foreign workers when you can high new grads for the same cost. My company has been using Accenure for the last year and these “skilled workers” are anything but. It’s hit and miss, you really don’t know who or how skilled a person you are actually getting until you find out they can’t do the simplest task. And forget about them interacting with customers, most of their English is terrible. But hey, as long as you can save a few bucks and screw the American tech worker in the process. Just stop claiming there is a shortage of skilled Americans. That just isn’t true and you know it.