H-1B Visas, the Dance Between Large Corporations and the Local IT Professional

by HSG on Apr 29, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

Controversy was recently courted as Southern California Edison (SCE) prepares to cut their own staff while looking to meet their staffing needs with offshore employees skilled in the field of “IT” or Informational Technology. This has been the second major utility company in the United States to take this path towards providing services to its consumers while holding current rates at consistent levels. SCE does not disclose the exact numbers of expected lay-offs, but the LA Times reports that it is in the hundreds.  Utility companies tell their consumers that these moves are necessary as a hedge against inflation and to keep their services at rates that their customers can easily afford. Critics claim that the use of foreign workers is the first step to using an entirely foreign workforce and promoting large scale unemployment amongst American citizens. Often this has been seen as a conflict between national and international workers for the same jobs, salaries and careers.

It has been noted that this State of California utility company, much like other corporations that hire foreign workers does so primarily when there is a shortage of national citizens that can perform these jobs well. IT workers that are brought in with H-1B Visa work permits usually are college educated and hold expertise in technical areas and studies that local employees may not be especially trained in. Once again, critics decry the fact that these employees are not hired directly. On shore contracting companies operating in the continental United States are directly hired by the utility companies. These contracted companies then serve as “middle-men” and hire a wide range of foreign workers with H-1B paperwork so that they can move to the United States. The workers then perform a variety of jobs instead of American workers who were either born in the country or have achieved American citizenship on their own.

Needless to say, the amount of visas issued in a given year is a concern for U.S workers in various fields but particularly in Information Technology. As large corporations stack the employment deck with foreign workers who put in the hours for a fraction of the pay-rate for local employees, local IT professionals are finding it more difficult to find work nationally.  They encounter rejections, endless interview processes or low –ball offers from companies and recruiting agencies looking to fill positions at a bare minimum cost for coveted skill-sets.  


Meanwhile, an H-1B worker is a worker brought in on a temporary basis with a visa allowing them to work freely in the United States. Much like a student or travel visa, it is issued for on a calendar oriented basis.  Applicants who successfully renew the visa for an extended period of time can expect to work in the United States for up to ten years.  Although U.S companies hiring these employees may pay them less than their local employees, the salaries earned by H-1B Visa workers are almost always higher than these workers would earn in their own country of origin.

Both sides can agree on several issues. When it comes to these H-1B Visa workers, their assignments are generally of a contractual nature and require them to reside in this country for a period of months to years. However it is also an accepted fact that while they are in this country, they are responsible for paying rent, utilities and all other living expenses. As residents of the United States on a permanent basis, they are also liable for taxes on any salary they have earned while living here.

Dr. Norman Matloff, a professor at the University of California, Davis and writer on political matters believes the shortage to be fiction. In his writing for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, he claims that “there has been no shortage of qualified American citizens to fill American computer-related jobs, and that the data offered as evidence of American corporations needing H-1B visas to address labor shortages was erroneous. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) agrees with him and describes the situation as a crisis. Likewise, other studies from Duke, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Georgetown University have disputed that in some years, the number of foreign programmers and engineers imported outnumbered the number of jobs created by the industry

Nonetheless, as long as large corporations lobby Congress for additional H1 Visas, the future outlook for this type of employee is promising, particularly for those with skills in the scientific and technical arenas. To put this in perspective, the 2014 fiscal year has reached its 65,000 applicants cap, five days after they were received.  Hence, there is nothing as permanent as a temporary guest worker. This is the current state of the international workplace and the hiring of employees regardless of political borders is not likely to change.

Top Companies Receiving H-1B Visas

  1. Infosys
  2. Wipro
  3. Microsoft
  4. Tata Consultancy Services
  5. Mahindra Satyam
  6. Cognizant
  7. Patni Computer Systems
  8. IBM (India, Private Ltd)
  9. Oracle Corporation
  10. Larson & Toubro Infotech
  11. Intel Corporation
  12. Ernst & Young LLP
  13. UST Global
  14. Deloitte
  15. Qualcomm
  16. Accenture Inc
  17. HCL Technologies Ltd
  18. Google

 2014 H1B Visa Report: Top H1B Visa Job Title

 Title   /(LCA)Labor Condition Application /Average Salary

1             Programmer Analyst        33,861   $65,415

2             Software Engineer           15,659   $90,240

3             Computer Programmer   11,263   $64,105

4             Systems Analyst8,710     $68,560

5             Technology Lead - Us      7,853     $77,031

6             Technology Analyst - Us7,683     $66,842

7             Business Analyst               5,711     $67,761

8             Computer Systems Analyst            5,039     $70,970

9             Software Developer         5,019     $82,105

10           Senior Consultant             4,324     $102,125

11           Assistant Professor          4,195     $98,952

12           Senior Software Engineer              3,659     $106,447

13           Consultant          3,474     $81,508

14           Physical Therapist             3,232     $68,914

15           Systems Engineer - Us     2,617     $63,184

16           Project Manager               2,394     $84,636

17           Research Associate          2,317     $52,608

18           Database Administrator  2,175     $69,483

19           Computer Systems Engineer         2,155     $63,342

20           Project Manager - Us      2,061     $92,046

21           Accountant         1,950     $51,376

22           Computer Programmer Analyst    1,948     $68,662

23           Associate             1,700     $100,994

24           Consultant - Us  1,680     $77,987

25           Business Systems Analyst               1,525     $72,810

26           Senior Software Developer           1,472     $95,671

27           Lead Engineer    1,455     $69,102

28           Technical Test Lead - Us1,377     $72,565

29           Software Development Engineer1,370     $105,105

30           Postdoctoral Fellow         1,348     $46,044

31           Programmer/Analyst       1,339     $67,159

32           Computer Programmers1,286     $63,502

33           Market Research Analyst               1,284     $50,447

34           Computer Programmer/Configurer 2        1,254     $65,526

35           Test Analyst - Us               1,235     $65,889

36           Pharmacist          1,229     $117,272

36           Financial Analyst               1,229     $68,154

38           Systems Engineer             1,182     $78,500

39           Manager              1,175     $123,536

40           Analyst  1,139     $72,382

41           Quality Assurance Analyst             1,136     $65,112

42           Technology Architect - Us             1,132     $96,317

43           Postdoctoral Research Associate               1,085     $46,892

44           Mechanical Engineer       1,045     $70,246

45           Research Fellow               966        $53,821

46           Postdoctoral Associate   926        $46,553

47           Systems Administrator    919        $68,029

48           Senior Programmer Analyst          912        $86,502

49           Associate Consultant - Us              907        $66,428

50           Application Developer     899        $76,857

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