07:06 AM
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto

8 Biggest H-1B Employers In 2015

The impact of H-1B workers on American tech jobs has been a hot-button issue, and now the controversial topic is a talking point in the current presidential race. So, now is a good time learn more about last year's 8 largest H-1B employers.
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(Image: Gulbenk via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Gulbenk via Wikimedia Commons)

The H-1B visa program has been a hotly debated issue for some time, fueled by concerns over job security for American tech workers and an attempt to balance it against corporate America's need for an adequate supply of IT workers -- even if it means hiring temporary workers from foreign countries. So, it's not surprising that the controversial topic has worked its way into the rhetoric during this year's highly charged presidential race.

"H-1B workers have never been discussed in the presidential election before. It's only been immigration issues," Ron Hira, associate professor of political science at Howard University, told InformationWeek. He said the topic has gotten attention during debates because this is the first time candidates have had active H-1B related bills during an election year.

Some of the discussion in the presidential campaign has arisen from legislation that candidates have introduced. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supports raising the limit on H-1B visas beyond its current 65,000 cap, while Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders each proposed reform bills to tighten the H-1B program, a stance shared by Donald Trump, who has also outlined ways restrict H-1B visas.

With so much attention focused on H-1B workers this election year, it pays to know who the major H-1B employers are.

For the most part, the majority of the top eight H-1B employers are outsourcing companies that are heavily dependent on H-1B workers. In order to be classified as heavily dependent on H-1B workers, 15% or more of an employer's workforce must be comprised of H-1B workers, according to the US Department of Labor. Of the top eight employers, only Accenture and IBM, the second of which includes its wholly owned subsidiary IBM India Private, were considered non-H-1B dependent, according to Hira's research.

Each year the US government approves up to 65,000 H-1B visas, as well as up to 20,000 H-1B visas for applicants with a master's degree or higher, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). But demand for these coveted visas far outstrip the available caps. For example, of the combined 85,000 H-1B visas allowed under the two caps every year, a record 233,000 applications were submitted by employers in fiscal 2015, USCIS reported.

The top eight H-1B employers, as a group, scooped up a total of 49,539 H-1B visas out of the 85,000 available. That's 58% of the total number of visas available in 2015, according to data the USCIS provided to InformationWeek under the Freedom of Information Act.

[See: 7 Tech Jobs Hardest Hit by Layoffs in 2015.]

The data provided included a list of the top 10 H-1B employers, but because Cognizant Tech Solutions and Infosys each were listed twice, the figures for each of the two companies were combined, bringing the list down to eight companies.

In addition to the approved H-1B visas for each of the eight companies, other figures, drawn from Hira's research, are also included on each of the slides.

That data includes the most prevalent occupation, education level, and country of origin between 2005 and 2012. It also includes the share of H-1B workers sponsored for a green card in 2014, the share of these workers with advanced degrees from US universities for 2013, and the median wage in 2013. The data for IBM India Private was folded into Hira's research under IBM overall.

Here is a look at the top eight H-1B employers in 2015 in ascending order. Tell us in the comments below what you think of the current H-1B policy and whether or how it should be changed.

Dawn Kawamoto is a freelance writer and editor. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's,, AOL's DailyFinance, and The ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2016 | 1:31:36 PM
Cognizant undercutting mean wages by $32,000yr ($502 million year in total)
I noticed a statistically important number. Because Cognizant is 100% Analysis and Programming occupations, that number can be directly mapped to labor statistics to determine a sample salary savings ($32k each).

* Cognizant: System Analysis and Computer Programming 100%
* Cognizant: Median Wage: $61,131
* Cognizant: H-1B approvals: 15,680

BLS - Occupational Employment Statistics (2014)
* Median wage: Computer and Information Analysts $87,890.00
* Median wage: Software Developers and Programmers $95,280.00
* Growth in employment levels: 72,920
** (Gross employment 608,500 and 1,492,040 respectively)

US Median: System Analysis and Computer Programming $93,139.21

* Cognizant wage savings through H-1B: 
** Per employee $32,008.21
** Total (per 15,680 approvals) $501,888,733.00
** Cognizant - H-1B share of 2014 employment growth: 21.50%
*** (Note: FY2015 H-1B commence on Oct. 1, 2014)

Source data: 
Occupational Employment Statistics are from:
15-1120 Computer and Information Analysts -- broad
15-1130 Software Developers and Programmers -- broad
User Rank: Apprentice
4/1/2016 | 1:03:45 PM
Re: The system needs to be corrected
These major IT services companies not only take all the H1B visas, but have also managed to find loopholes in green card process filing. While other people have to wait for decades to get one, these companies file their employees under a special category reserved for executive managers and manage to get a green card within a year. Most of the people using this special category (called EB1-C) are no different from other plain old developers, with no SPECIAL executive skills. All they do is send the work to their country. By providing these so called easy green cards, it becomes very difficult to get rid of this mess once they become citizens.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/29/2016 | 6:06:17 AM
Skimming "The Cream of the Crop" for Tough or Undesirable Jobs
As a former COBOL programmer here in the U.S. back in the early '80s, I saw no outsourcing of IT work to foreign countries, but I did work with a few people originally from India.  There was never a discussion of green cards or visas, so I'll assume they were U.S. citizens.  Whether they were or not was immaterial at the time because the only thing noticed was the split between who was brilliant and who was simply average in talent and productivity.  It was extremely rare at that time to find Applications Programmers (almost all mainframe COBOL) with a degree in Computer Science because those people typically went into Systems Programming or highly technical software development.  COBOL was "beneath them" and they weren't interested in business issues, so companies continued to build their own applications programming teams via in-house training.  I then witnessed the inability of some new COBOL programmers who had been former computer operators, secretaries and clerks to understand and maintain existing COBOL programs.  They just couldn't do the job, which prevented work from getting done fast enough.  That situation across North America, I believe, started the outsourcing of COBOL programming work to India.  They had people with a degree in Computer Science, plus an MBA and were more than eager to do mainframe COBOL maintenance work -- especially that relating to Y2K.  That means a market void was filled and rightly so.  Let's ignore programming salaries for a moment.

Fast forward to today.  If the U.S. does indeed lack IT programming staff that's conversant in business issues (CS grads with an MBA), then they must be found overseas, skimming the world's "cream of the crop" whenever possible.  However, if the H1-B program is abused in order to swap out average-talent Americans for cheaper, average-talent foreigners, then the abusers need to be stopped immediately.  There's no reason qualified, motivated, productive, U.S. STEM workers should find themselves unemployed or underemployed.

As for the H1-B workers, the abusers hold them via "bait & switch" employment contracts as indentured servants under constant threat of deportation.



User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2016 | 3:49:04 PM
All from India
Did anyone notice? The eight largest H-1B visa employers are either based in India or have to do with running all or part of their operations in India. The usual thing that runs in India, are technical support call centers.

Is that why job openings for American IT technicians are lacking?
User Rank: Strategist
3/27/2016 | 9:25:57 PM
Re: Wait!
IBM has laid off more than 100000 senior and experienced engineers and programmers in USA and still is crying foul that IBM can not find experienced engineers and programmers within USA. Actually IBM is looking for a fixed cost mobile young workers on H1-B who are ready to put more than 60 hours week and do not charge them over time. At the same time IBM will charge these additional hours to the customers at IBM rate. That is their clear profit.
User Rank: Strategist
3/25/2016 | 9:25:13 AM
Article Title Should be: 8 Companies to Avoid Doing Business With
This article is mis-titled.
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2016 | 10:36:24 AM
But it was my understanding that the reason we need H1-B, and the reason it needs to be expanded, is because we don't have the expertise and personnel in this country to do these jobs. Are you telling me it's being used just to get cheaper labor? I'm shocked, shocked, that companies would do such a thing!
User Rank: Strategist
3/24/2016 | 9:40:00 AM
Too bad it had to come to this.
Thanks for writing the article.

It's sad that we've had to reach a point where the visa's top eight users are outsourcers before this reached the national stage.  Not that Microsoft, Facebook, etc. get a free pass on how they rely on the visa, but they're the less visibly egregious abusers.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2016 | 8:05:40 AM
The system needs to be corrected
Every single non-partisan study has shown there is NO shortage of STEM workers in this country. Of course, there will always be some shortage in a specific area, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that those are the positions being filled in by H-1B. I support the H-1B to bring in only the BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST. But companies have used it to bring one and all and to replace American workers. I sincerely hope people like Zuckerberg and Gates do not dictate public policy - politicians unfortunately are beholden to them. As you see in the slides, less than 1% of the people who are brought in have degrees from US. It is an outrage.
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