H-1B visa certifications: Only two Indian firms make the cut

indica News Bureau


IT majors Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Mphasis Corporation are the only two Indian companies among the top 10 firms to get foreign labor certification for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018, according to data from the US Department of Labor released early this month.
The news comes in the wake of Trump administration’s plans to revise the definition of employment and specialty occupations under the US H-1B visas by next year – a move set to hit the Indian IT companies in the US.
While TCS received a total of 20,755 H-1B specialty occupation labor certifications, Mphasis Corporation got 16,671.
This is a far cry from fiscal years 2014 and 2015, when four Indian firms were in the top 10 with a significant number of overall certifications.
Multinational professional services firm Ernst & Young, which is headquartered in London, emerged as the top employer to receive the most sought-after certification.
With 151,164 H-1B specialist occupation labor certifications, Ernst & Young accounted for the 12.4 per cent of all foreign labor certification for the H-1B work visas for this fiscal year ending September 30.
While Deloitte Consulting with 69,869 H-1B specialty occupations labor conditions program took the second spot, Indian American owned Cognizant Technologies with nearly 47,732 certifications, came in third.
The Department’s latest data reported other tech companies in the list as, HCL America (42,820), K Force Inc (32,996), and Apple (26,833).
Qualcomm Technologies (20,723) and Capgemini America (13,517) are the other companies in top 10.
According to Department of Labor, a specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent in the specific specialty.
Before applying for the H-1B visas the employer has to submit a labor condition application to the Department of Labor. Companies can proceed with the H-1B petitions, only after they receive such a certification by the Department of Labor.
The H-1B visa program is of utmost value, especially among the Indian IT professionals, as it allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in the US on a non-immigrant basis in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, there were as many as 419,637 foreign nationals working in the US on H-1B visas as on October 5, and nearly three out of every four of them were Indian citizens.
The H-1B visa has an annual cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
As an H-1B non-immigrant, the applicant may be admitted for a period of up to three years. The timeline may be extended, but generally cannot exceed a total of six years.
In the fiscal 2018, the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification processed 654,360 applications for the H-1B specialty occupations labor conditions program, of which 599,782 were certified, 8,627 were denied and 45,951 were withdrawn.
It received requests for 1,266,614 positions of which 1,223,053 were certified.
Among the positions certified, software developers and applications accounted for nearly one-fourth with 285,963 positions being certified.

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