Top Indian IT firms namely TCS and Infosys have been accused by the US of unfairly cornering the majority of H-1B visas by putting extra tickets in the lottery system, which the United States administration wants to replace by giving more scope to immigrants on the basis of their merit.
According to a White House briefing, an official said that a small number of giant outsourcing firms flood the system with applications which naturally ups their chances of success in the lottery draw. The White House further explained that the Indian firms were mentioned as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Cognizant were the top three recipients of H-1B visas.
“You may know their names well, but like the top recipients of the H-1B visa are companies like Tata, 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,” said the briefing posted on White House website.
“And those three companies are companies that have 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 said.
Notably, all the three Indian firms refused to comment on the US administration comment.
As per the current rules, H-1B visas were awarded through a random lottery system with over 80% H-1B worker paid less than the average wage.
“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,” an official said.