Hira contends that the latest H-1B usage data should give pause to lawmakers promoting the Immigration Innovation Act, a bill filed by a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. senators last month. If passed, the bill would immediately raise the H-1B visa cap to 115,000 and then allow it to gradually rise further to 300,000.
"If that bill were to be passed, we'd see a major hemorrhaging of American jobs and it would discourage American kids from studying high-tech fields," Hira said.
The current annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas incudes exemptions for universities and nonprofit research organizations.
While the companies that vocally support raising the visa cap are typically U.S.-based, the USCIS data shows the largest H-1B visa users are offshore service providers like New Jersey-based Cognizant, which topped the 2012 list with 9,281 visa-holding employees. At the end of 2011, Cognizant employed 137,700 people overall, according to its annual report.
The full 2012 H-1B database, which is searchable by employer, is available online at http://cwrld.us/H1Bdatabase.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.
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