H-1B visas: US immigration seems to like certain companies more than others

Employees at the Google office in BangaloreBCCL

  • The H-1B visa rejection rate is not equal for all companies looking to hire workers from India.
  • Data from the US Immigration service shows that the rate of H-1B visa rejections are much higher for Indian IT firms than firms based out of the US.
  • Mohandas Pai, the former CFO of Infosys, told Business Insider that the ‘Buy American, Hire American' policy is targeting certain companies.
  • Shivendra Singh — Vice President and Head of Global Trade Development at NASSCOM — on the other hand, feels that since most US visas are still going to Indian citizens, it's a testimony to their skill set.
On the surface, it looks like the sudden increase H-1B visa rejection rate by the US is having an equal impact on everybody.

But that data and sources tell Business Insider that may not necessarily be true.

Mohandas Pai, the former CFO of Infosys and start up investor, told Business Insider India, "The data is very clear that certain companies are being targeted for being service providers."

Numbers from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) back Pai's claim. They show that the US President, Donald Trump's new policy to ‘Buy American, Hire American' is only mitigating visa petitions from Indian IT firms like Capgemini, Cognizant, Infosys and Deloitte.

US based firms like Facebook and Amazon, on the other hand, are having no issues picking up Indian talent from the market and taking it to the US.

Attracting the right talent

Shivendra Singh, the Vice President and Head of Global Trade Development at NASSCOM, says that while the rejection rate of H-1B visa petitions from Indian IT firms may be rising, most US visas are still being issued to citizens from India.

He told Business Insider India, "Although Indian companies have reduced their number of visa usage, Indian nationals continue to get 70% of the visas — which is more a testimony to their skill set."

Singh explains, "They have the relevant skill set, which is why they're in demand. It's not just Indian companies but US and global companies that want to hire them (Indian nationals)."

The disparity in numbers between the H-1B visa rejection rate for Indian IT companies and US based firms also further exemplifies India's competitive advantage. Pai elucidates, "India has extreme expertise. They can do software better, faster and in a more cost effective way than anybody else."

But, not being able to retain that talent may be an issue. "Any country which is able to attract the right skill set in large numbers will be the country which will succeed," according to Singh.

See also:

Rise in US H-1B visa rejection may force Indian tech companies to look at M&A

US Immigration is denying more H1-B visas than ever before — without notice or authority

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