Four of six high-profile US tech companies were among the top 10 employers for approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in fiscal 2017, National Foundation for American Policy said in its latest report on work visa popular among Indian IT workers.
The trend reflects the strong demand for high-skilled talent in the US economy.
Four of 6 high-profile US tech companies - Amazon (2,515), Microsoft (1,479), Intel (1,230), and Google (1,213) - were among the top 10 employers for approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2017.
Facebook, with 720 new H-1B initial petitions approved in FY 2017, an increase of 248, or 53 per cent, and Apple, with 673, a 7 per cent increase, were 14th and 15th on the list.
According to the report, Amazon had the second most number of H-1B petitions approved for initial employment in FY 2017, with an increase from 1,416 in FY 2016 to 2,515 in FY 2017. Amazon's use of H-1Bs reflects its increased growth in the US, particularly in research and development.
Also, the top H-1B employers among high-profile tech companies match up with the US companies that spend the most on research and development.
In 2017, Amazon spent almost $23 billion on R&D, followed by Alphabet (Google) with $16.6 billion, Intel with $13.1 billion, Microsoft with $12.3 billion, Apple with $11.6 billion and Facebook with $7.8 billion.
Research and development is important to a country's economic growth. It is possible some of the larger tech companies had more success gaining approvals with fewer overall applications submitted for the fiscal 2018 H-1B cap (and subsequent random selection once USCIS received more applications than the annual limit), the report said.
Meanwhile, top seven Indian IT companies experienced a whopping 43 per cent drop in their H-1B visa approvals between 2015 and 2017, the think-tank said.
The report added that the 8,468 new H-1B visas for Indian-based companies in the finanacial year 2017 equaled only 0.006 per cent of the 160 million in the US labour force.
The top seven Indian-based companies received only 8,468 approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2017, a decline of 43 per cent for these companies since FY 2015, when it received 14,792 H-1B visas.
In its analysis, the National Foundation for American Policy said that the drop in H-1B visas for Indian-based companies is due to industry trends toward digital services such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, which require fewer workers, and a choice by companies to rely less on visas and to build up their domestic workforces in the United States.
In most cases, companies require fewer people per project, it argued.