Google only received about a fifth of the number of skilled guest workers Microsoft pulled in during the 2008 fiscal year, according to a list compiled by Computer World.
Under the H-1B visa program, Microsoft and Google are able to employ non-immigrant guest workers on their campuses in the United States, and both have expressed a need for more of these workers.
"We would encourage Congress to significantly increase the annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas, to a figure more reflective of the growth rate of our technology-driven economy," Google Vice President Laszlo Bock told Congress in 2007. Similarly, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has also testified before Congress about the need for more H-1B visas.
Critics, such Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, contend that H-1B visas allow companies to bring in foreign labor at the expense of American workers.
The poor economy appears to be slowing down the H-1B application process – unofficial numbers showed that 25 percent of 2009 visas were still available as of October.
For 2008, take a look at the list Computer World put together. It features the top companies that received H-1B visas during the 2008 fiscal year and the number of visas approved for each company.
According to the story that accompanies the list, "Microsoft Corp. was the top U.S.-based recipient of H-1B visas in 2008, receiving approval for 1,037 visas, slightly more than in 2007." Google had 207 H-1B visas approved in 2008, which "far less than it wanted," according to the story.
Other big California organizations with visa allocations include Intel Corp. with 351, Oracle Corp. with 168, and Stanford University with 138.
Overall, India-based IT service companies remain the biggest users of the visas. Critics contend that Indian outsourcing firms send their workers to the United States to train for jobs that will then be moved back to India. Computer World reported:
In the latest listing of visa holders, Infosys Technologies Ltd. remained the top user, receiving approval for 4,559 – the same number it got in fiscal 2007. Otherwise, the numbers for other major users varied, with some of the offshore firms showing sizable increases in their use of the program.