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4/2/2008
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Who Got H-1B Visas Petitions Approved Last Year? Look At The List

Among the top 10 companies having H-1B visa petitions approved for fiscal 2007 are eight Indian firms and two U.S. companies, Microsoft and Intel.

Thousands of employers are scrambling this week to file H-1B visa petitions in hopes that the U.S. government will approve their applications to hire foreign tech workers in fiscal 2009. InformationWeek analyzed the list of companies that had their H-1B visa applications approved last year and the number of approvals they got.

Among the top 10 companies having H-1B visa petitions approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for fiscal 2007 (which started Oct. 1, 2006) are eight Indian firms -- with Infosys ranked at No. 1 with 4,559 visas -- and two U.S.-based companies, Microsoft and Intel, having a combined 1,328 visa petitions approved. In total, the top 10 companies had 12,876 H-1B visa petitions approved.

Despite the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas that are generally available and the additional 20,000 exempt visas for foreign-born students with advanced degrees from U.S. schools, there were a total of 126,219 H-1B visa petitions approved in fiscal 2007 by USCIS.

Those additional 41,219 H-1B visas petitions approved included three-year extensions for companies seeking H-1B visa renewals, as well as two categories of employers exempt from caps -- nonprofit organizations and institutes of higher learning, said a USCIS spokesman in an interview.

"So, while there's lots of discussion about the 85,000 cap, in reality the total number of H-1B visa petitions approved is higher," the spokesman said.

Also, once the visa petitions are approved by USCIS, the actual visas have to be issued by the U.S. State Department.

Sometimes those visa petitions are rejected by the State Department for a variety of reasons, and the visa is not issued, said a State Department spokesman. Among the reasons visas aren't issued even though the petition was approved by USCIS is an individual failing a background check or not being qualified to enter the United States.

Some in Washington are seeking more details about how companies are using H-1B visas. Two senators, who last year introduced a bipartisan bill to fight alleged H-1B and L-1 visa abuse and fraud, this week sent letters to the top 25 companies on the USCIS list for approved H-1B petitions in fiscal 2007.

In the letters, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked the companies to respond to a number of questions, including whether they are H-1B dependent (meaning 15% or more of their U.S.-based workers are H-1B visa holders); how they recruit for open positions; and how many H-1B and other visa holders they've sponsored over the last five years.

Last year, Durbin and Grassley sent a similar letter requesting that information from the top nine Indian companies that had H-1B visas approved in fiscal 2006. All of those companies eventually responded to the letters, but with varying degrees of detail, said a Durbin spokesman. "Some of the responses were helpful, and others weren't," he said, declining to elaborate.

The top 25 H-1B visa recipient companies contacted by Durbin and Grassley this week include Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, Cognizant, Microsoft, and Tata.

You can see the list of the top 100 companies that received H-1B visa approvals from USCIS in fiscal 2007 on the next two pages, including the top 25 being questioned by the two senators.

And if you want to see the list of all 29,074 companies receiving H-1B visa approvals in fiscal 2007, click here for a spreadsheet.

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