Tech Companies Impacted By H-1B Proposed Changes During Trump Administration

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In 2017, there will be 85,000 H1-B visas approved with 20,000 of those reserved for Master’s degree holders. Silicon Valley is still eagerly awaiting proposed changes as part of Trump’s likely executive order which warrants more research of visas and immigration especially the H1-B. But the question begs, which companies are likely to be more at risk if H1-B visa requirements and processes are changed?

I’ve talked in depth about the process of ballot stuffing where large companies submit H1-B visa applications for thousands of candidates knowing that there are only a certain number of approvals over the course of the year. However, it’s hard to understand just how common ballot stuffing actually is when it comes to the H1-B visa lottery process. Applications that meet all the criteria are then placed into a lottery where 85,000 visas are essentially drawn at random. The best way to ensure that your company has the most visas selected as part of the lottery is to have more visa applications than the rest. The practice seems crazy and yet over 260,000 applications were submitted in 2016. Large organizations are spending between $1.7 to 6 million a year to employ their best STEM talent with visasQuestion is what does $1.7 million dollars in visa applications look like? According to a recent story by Reuters large employers are submitting between 3,256 to 95,800 applications.

The Top Ten Tech Companies Submitting H1-B Visa Applications in 2016

#1 – Cognizant

Cognizant is an American multinational corporation that provides digital, technology, consulting, and operations services. It is headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, United States. Cognizant is listed in the NASDAQ-100 and the S&P 500 indices. In 2016, they submitted more than 95,800 applicants. Their average pay for those candidates is nearly 50% lower than some of the more foreign worker dependent players like Facebook. Cognizant’s salary average is just above $81,000 while Facebook’s is $145,000.

#2 – Wipro

Wipro Limited is an Indian Information Technology Services corporation headquartered in Bangalore, India. In 2013, Wipro demerged its non-IT businesses into separate companies to bring in more focus on independent businesses. Wipro is an outsourced tech solution provider and submitted 30,500 applications with an average salary of nearly $73,000. Their H1-B visa holders account for more than 15% of their workforce.

#3 – Infosys

Infosys Limited is an Indian multinational corporation that provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services. It has the main headquarter in Bengaluru, India. They are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and had nearly 26,000 applications in 2016 with a medium salary of just over $81,000. Their H1-B visa holders account for more than 15% of their workforce.

#4 – Apple

Who isn’t familiar with Apple? Apple is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, a suburb of San Jose, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. H1-B visa holders do not account for more than 15% of their workforce with an average salary of $129,000 and accounting for over 23,000 applications.

#5 – Tata

Tata Group is a multinational conglomerate and holding company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was founded in 1868 by Jamshedji Tata. Tata had 17,669 H1-B applications last year. This number accounts for more than 15% of their workforce who has an average salary of just under $67,000.

#6 – IBM

International Business Machines Corporation is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States, with operations in over 170 countries. Last year, IBM submitted 9,520 H1-B visa applications. These STEM workers had an average salary of $82,391.

#7 – Microsoft

Microsoft is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal computers and services. They have 9,589 visa applications last year and compensate these employees at nearly $130,000 per year.

#8 – Amazon, often simply Amazon, is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company, founded on July 5, 1994, by Jeff Bezos and based in Seattle, Washington. Amazon submitted 7,679 H1-B applications in 2016 with an average pay of $117,000.

#9 – Facebook

Facebook is an American for-profit corporation and online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California. Facebook is the smallest of the tech companies listed. Their H1-B visas account for more than 15% of their workforce. They compensate those same employees well. They average more than $145,000 per year. Facebook submitted 3,339 H1-B visa applications in 2016.

#10 – Google

Google is an American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Google submitted 3,256 H1-B applications last year. Their compensation is similar to Facebook’s and averages nearly $132,000.

Which Company is the Most at Risk?

The biggest company at risk at present looks to be Facebook due to their smaller employee size (17,048) in comparison to Amazon, Google, IBM and others. Certainly, smaller companies who hire contractors from the larger outsource companies listed will be impacted as well. However, it’s not known the client companies of these outsourced organizations. It’s likely that companies who submitted visa applications and weren’t selected rely on these outsource to fill their key roles paying top dollar for the visa and the contract’s qualifications.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Branigan Robertson says

    It’s great to see bloggers digging into the nuts and bolts of the work-visa application process. Not enough HR publications do (IMHO). Those of us who work in the legal profession are watching closely to see what the current administration does next. If the recent travel ban was any indication, the HR field could be forced to do some serious scrambling.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks Branigan. You might also be interested in the webinar I am also facilitating on a similar topics that goes into more detail. This issue impacts employers in many different ways. HR won’t be dull during this administration.


      • Branigan Robertson says

        Ha! I’m all for keeping things interesting, but I get the feeling some of us are in for the ride of our lives. I’m actually very interested in that webinar. I registered. Thanks for the tip!


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