h-1b, h1-b
A United States Passport book cover photographed against a white background.

At a White House briefing earlier last week, a U.S. official has accused Indian blue chip IT firms including TCS, Infosys and Cognizant of practicing unfair means to grab the lion’s share of H-1B visas. The official was of the view that these outsourcing firms are flooding the lottery-based system with applications for increasing their chances to win the lottery system. The Trump rule is currently working towards the transformation of such a system into a merit-based immigration policy.

The transcript published on the White House website asserted the official’s comment as under,

You may know their names well, but like the top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata (TCS), Infosys, Cognizant—they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they’ll get the lion’s share of visas.

The office further stated that these three companies — TATA (TCS), Infosys and Cognizant were the three recipients of H-1B visas. He pointed out that these three companies offer an average wage for H-1B visas between $60,000 and $65,000 (a year). By contrast, the median Silicon Valley software engineer’s wage is probably around $150,000. The official believes that bringing skilled employees on low wages demarks the repute of H-1B visa holders.

If the Trump government is successful to overthrow the lottery game, it would mean that more and more individuals employed as H-1B visa worker will be paid equally in the U.S. Presently not more than 20% of the companies pay equally to H-1B workers, similar to median wage in their fields. The government believes that the number might further decline in future, witnessing the wrong practices by such putative Indian firms.

Shedding light on the matter, he added,

Only about 5 to 6 percent, depending on the year, of H-1B workers command the highest wage tier recognised by the Department of Labour, there being four wage tiers. And the highest wage tier, for instance, in 2015, was only 5 percent of H-1B workers.

According to the U.S official, Indian firms are still in support of the lottery-based system mainly because a skill-based system will only make it difficult for them to cut/replace the American workforce. He added that bringing unskilled workers for cutting costs will just deplete their competitiveness in the industry.

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