Washington: Reflecting the changed ground realties in the US in the wake of economic crisis, there has been a sharp drop in H-1B work visas being applied for and obtained by major IT companies from India.
For instance the Infosys, which got as many as 4,559 H-1B visas in the fiscal 2008 and was on top of the list of firms bagging the coveted scheme for professionals, received just 440 H-1B visas in the fiscal 2009 (from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009), according to the latest figures released by the US Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Similarly, Wipro, which in 2008 got 2,678 H-1B visas, received just 1,964 in 2009; but still topped the list in the fiscal 2009.
In 2008, four out of the top five spots for companies bagging the maximum number of H-1B visas were grabbed by Indian companies. These were Infosys (4,559), Wipro (2678), Satyam (1917) and Tata Consultancy Services (1539). Microsoft with 1037 H1-1B visas was the only US company to figure in top five.
However, the situation has changed dramatically in the year 2009 amid the global financial meltdown.
While three of the top five positions are still being grabbed by Indian companies, none of them except for Wipro crossed the 1,000 mark.
Wipro (1,964) is followed by Intel (723), then by IBM India (695) and Patni Americans (609). Satyam is ranked far below with just 219 H-1B visas in 2009 as against 1,917 in 2008.
Another major Indian IT company Cognizant had just 233 H-1B visas as against 467 in 2008.
Computerworld, which first reported about the latest USCIS figures, said the US companies are still getting H-1B visas even as they cut jobs, while some of the big Indian IT firms are cutting back on their H-1B use as the US market dealt with the economic recession.