08 February 2011

IT firms report increase in need for US Visa workers

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The number of H-1B and L-1 US Visa holders at most of the top Indian IT firms are expected to increase in the coming year, despite the rise in visa application fee.

US Visa

There has been an increase in the number of US Visas used by Indian IT companies.

The rise in business volumes has seen Indian IT companies deploying more people from their Indian base on-site in the US to complete short-term contracts – a move which necessarily requires applying for a special US Visa.

India's second largest IT services firm, Infosys Technologies, has reported using a higher number of H-1B and L-1 visa holders at the end of 2010 than compared with the beginning of that year.

At the end of the December 2010, approximately 9,300 of Infosys' employees in the US held H-1B visa and approximately 2,300 were on L-1 visa, but as of March 31 it employed 8,900 H-1B visa holders and 1,800 L-1 visa holders.
"The number of visa holders depends on the approval process and growth in the business. Since business has grown in the last 12 months, there are more people working on projects on-site," said Mohandas Pai, board member and director of HR and Administration, Infosys Technologies.

India's largest IT services firm TCS, initially planned to apply for 700 H-1B visas for the current financial year but ended up applying for 1,500 visas.

The increase in the number of visa holders by Indian IT companies could be a short to medium-term strategy until they hire a sizable number of US workers, as the US Visa application fee increase will dramatically affect profit margins.

Effective from August 2010, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an increase in the H-1B visa application by $2,000.

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