India sends over the vast majority of H-1B visa workers in America

By Steve Brachmann
March 23, 2016

india_flagIndia, the world’s second-largest country by population, sends the most foreign workers to America on H-1B visas for specialty occupations by a wide margin. Statistics reported by the U.S. Department of State show that in 2012, 80,630 H-1B visas were issued to workers coming from that country. In second-place that year was China, which sent a total of 11,077 workers over on an H-1B visa; these numbers include submissions of visa extensions which don’t count against the annual cap of 85,000 new H-1B visas.

With such a high rate of H-1B visa workers coming from a single country, it’s reasonable to expect that the topic becomes politically important between the U.S. and India at times. Recent increases to H-1B visa fees paid by companies has some observers wondering whether those fee increases could stifle sales of American exports to India. New U.S. laws doubling the price of H-1B applications for companies hosting over 50 such employees are the basis of a complaint filed by India with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in early March.

Indo-American governmental relations on the H-1B issue could continue to degrade should either of the Republican presidential nominee front-runners, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), ascend to the White House. Cruz is the sole sponsor of S.2394, the American Jobs First Act of 2015. Provisions of this bill prevent nonimmigrant foreign students from gaining employment under the optional practical training (OPT) program, which allows students to remain in America after graduating to gain employment here, in some cases for a little more than two years. In the fall of 2014, 22 percent of the 133,000 Indian students studying in America were employed through the OPT program.

India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian is the latest in a long line of sane and rational people who have become concerned with remarks made by potential Republican nominee Donald Trump. Subramanian recently noted how Trump’s avowal to fight the H-1B visa program, despite Trump’s willingness to use such workers in his own businesses, could do a great deal of damage to India’s services-led export model. Indian government officials believe that services-led exports can reach sustainable growth of up to 10 percent in the coming years.

And yet, wouldn’t you know it, it appears that the political preferences of Indian-Americans are actually shifting in favor of the Donald. Social media trends reported by The Times of India indicate that Trump is gaining increased support from online Indian-American communities. Trump will also enjoy the support of the Indian-Americans for Trump 2016 PAC, which registered with the Federal Election Commission in late January.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 8 Comments comments.

  1. EG March 23, 2016 8:46 am

    Steve,

    With all due respect, I find India’s complaint to the WTO about H-1b visa fees hypocritical. For example, when it comes to drug invention, India’s courts have a very skewed view about patent protection of such drug inventions (and in my opinion in violation of its obligations under TRIPS), especially when foreign nationals seek such patent protection in India.

  2. jake_leone March 23, 2016 3:53 pm

    There have been limits and fees on the H-1b visa, since day-1. The fact that it costs a lot for companies to have expanded use is perfectly normal.

    But the fact that Indian Offshore Outsourcing companies are using the H-1b visa to bypass Americans and Green Card holders for jobs on U.S., is much more troubling.

    Even the Indian visa regime would not allow the reciprocal case. I think India should be taken to the WTO first, for its completely unfair and repressive to foreign businesses and workers visa regime.

  3. Silence Dogood March 23, 2016 4:52 pm

    This is not an immigration comparable to the past, these non-immigrants are being brought over for the single purpose of taking Americans jobs at lower wages. Now visa expansion is the goal of our bought politicians and the corporate lobby; even the trade agreements (TPP) are loaded with language meant to expand foreign guest workers taking what’s left of American jobs.

    Hiring only foreign workers, even though an intermediary, is discrimination at its worst. With H-1B visa, diversity doesn’t apply: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2956584/it-outsourcing/with-h-1b-visa-diversity-doesnt-apply.html

    There is and never has been a shortage of qualified American workers! Connecticut companies such as Aetna, Cigna, Hartford Financial Services (all in on Indian H-1b’s and offshore India), Travelers, Anthem BCBS, United Healthcare, UTC, Voya, GE, pretty much ALL US companies are firing Americans and replacing them with offshore or onshore visa (H-1b, L-1a &b, OPT, B-1, O-1 etc.) guest workers (IBM, Accenture, TCS, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro, etc). It is NOT just IT, it’s Finance, and any other operations they can source. The American people do not want illegal immigrants and visa guest-workers taking our jobs! We don’t want corporations bringing over millions of Indian guest-workers so that they can have cheap labor and claim Americans can’t or won’t do the work-when we held the jobs and had to train our replacements when we were laid off! We don’t want every city or state giving documentation and driver’s licenses to assist illegal immigrant’s access to services (free) or employment (our jobs)! We don’t want corporations to be allowed to screw with retirees or anybody else’s pensions that were EARNED, or eliminate retiree health insurance that was PROMISED! We don’t want to be screwed on our taxes because corporations (so called job creators-NOT) don’t want to pay US\State taxes and they keep Billions of dollars offshore! Now visa expansion is the goal of our bought politicians and the corporate lobby; even the trade agreements (TPP) are loaded with language meant to expand foreign guest workers taking what’s left of American jobs. Our representatives are complicit in propagating the lie that America needs visa guest-workers. Our representatives say they love America, but they seem to hate Americans.

  4. Benny March 24, 2016 6:07 am

    A silicon valley tech executive, when asked how he expects to maintain a lead over Asian tech giants, was quoted as replying “because our Chinese [engineers] are better than their Chinese engineers”.
    The question, as Dogwood asks, is not in the smaller frame of, are they taking over US jobs, but in the larger frame of are they expanding the US economy (and thus creating new US jobs – including supporting and second-tier jobs). -That’s for you to consider and maybe answer.

  5. Titus Corleone March 24, 2016 11:42 am

    Uh yes… I lost a job to one of them once because my I.T. Manager wanted me to do most the work while he did home improvement (from home.) I was hired as a network administrator, and by the time I mentioned that it was becomming physically impossible to complete all of my assignments in a given day (because he had handed me responsiblitiy for over 20 different systems) along with supporting 6 international labs, and doing all my administration from a Mac, he brought in an H-1B; fired me – and worked the H-1b 10 and 11 hours a day. Nice having a slave take your job – who accepts less pay and won’t utter a peep when ordered to do anything…

  6. Kiran March 24, 2016 3:45 pm

    The things no one says in pro-H1B articles are this:

    1. H1Bs cannot start a company unless they get green card. They cannot freely choose higher paying jobs because H1B comes with many restrictions and hoops both for worker and new employer.

    2. Indians who applied for green card in 2004 are still waiting to get one. Usually the wait is 10-15yrs and its getting worse.

    3. Because Indians are majority of H1B crowd, they are slaving away at their employing companies and not starting companies because they are waiting for green card. This fact directly contradicts organizations like Fwd.US who are asking for more H1B implying that more H1Bs = more companies and more jobs.

    4. The reason they want more H1Bs is due to the current restrictive rules, H1Bs work for single company for 10-15yrs, and they can’t take promotions, stick with initial pay (which will be inline with govt. set pay) but no increments after that.

    5. Overall, the corporate greed wants more H1Bs. They are not pro-jobs or pro-opportunity. They are just pro-wealth for themselves and their shareholders.

  7. A wise International Student March 24, 2016 6:05 pm

    I agree to certain extent with the comments. Its quite obvious that no country would like immigrants from other countries taking up their jobs. To certain extent I believe it takes multiple hands to build an economy. All I can suggest is the United states should stop giving work visa’s and also terminate the existing working permits. Likewise, they should also stop giving admits to foreign students in the Educational institutions across the United States. Implement this strategy for the next 10 years. This would give sufficient time to both the country (USA) and its citizens to analyze whether this law would work in their favor or not. I truly believe the blame should not be subjected to people from a particular country but rather one should investigate the sources which lead to the circumstances of hiring foreign labor at cheap cost.

    Few facts:
    1. Corporate Tax in the Unites states is 39% – Companies face High operating cost. One should not argue when companies outsource jobs else everybody would be jobless if the company files bankruptcy.
    2. International students pay almost twice fee for their educational expenses to universities compared to the Local students. The net income from educational institutions across the U.S is itself more than a Billion every year.
    3. There is an argument over the International students saving on taxes Whereas if you go through the math, an international student does not save more than $1000 in any financial year. (Check the US Tax treaties with other countries like Article-21 for India).
    4. H1 visa holders pay Social security tax. This Tax is never refunded when the individual exits the United States. This money remains with the government and in turn benefits the Citizens. I feel there is nothing to argue on this amount as the fellow citizens have welcomed the immigrants in their country and this amount should be called as a gesture of appreciation. Social security tax is refunded to students on an application.

    Finally, I would just comment that when people migrate, they immigrate to help and to being helped. If such immigration causes issues to locals they should close the doors to immigrants. U.S.A is a great nation.

  8. angry dude March 26, 2016 3:30 pm

    A wise International Student@7

    Dude,

    you don’t know what you are talking about

    Foreign nationals on F1 and J1 non-immigrant visas constitute substantial part if not the majority of all junior research employment at leading US universities (grad students on RAs, post-docs etc.)
    And they usually don’t pay a dime for their (graduate level) education (aka being cheap labor for their professors) – they are being paid stipends and salaries (I collected $1200 a month tax free in addition to full MS and PhD tuition reimbursement back in the 90s)
    You can’t just stop this practice momentarily – it will depopulate university labs and literally devastate university research in US (I know it for sure cause I’ve been there myself)
    There are no easy solutions to current mess