Stated another way, and using the same databases, the system not only favors young, Hindu males from India, it favors those from just the three southern Indian states served by those two consulates.
The total population of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka comes to about 218 million. About 70 percent of H-1B visas are granted to India, and 60 percent of those go to these three states. Think about the difference between those two numbers for a moment; 42 percent of the worldwide total of H-1Bs come from southern India, which has only 0.3 % of the world’s population.
This means that an individual in one of those states has 241 times the chance of securing an H-1B slot as someone living in the rest of the world. Not twice the chance, not 24 times the chance, more than 200 times the chance of others. And, of course, they have an infinitely better chance for securing an H-1B job than any American because the latter are, by definition, barred from the program.
I showed these numbers to one of my informants, a one-time H-1B from that part of the world, and he told me that I was probably seriously understating the degree of concentration in southern India, on the grounds that many H-1B hopefuls with less than spectacular credentials try for a visa at one of the other three U.S. consulates in India because consular officials in Hyderabad and Chennai are considered tougher in their vetting of would-be H-1Bs.
Further, my informant said, you have not even considered the preferences by caste, which he said favored the Brahmins. (I cannot find any data on that point.)
Speaking of Brahmins, were the U.S. government to tolerate a hiring program that gave strong preference to white males; or to white, Anglo-Saxon males; or more specifically to those WASP males from New England whose daddies and grand-daddies had attended Ivy League colleges, there would be hell to pay. And rightly so.
But a similar program, tilted for young, Hindu males from southern India does not generate similar criticism. Is there a whiff of political correctness here? Or are these numbers simply not known to the public or to Congress?
Why are we seeing these hiring patterns in the first place?
There are several factors at work here: India provides a bachelor’s level education to more people than the Indian economy can support; virtually all of them speak English; a very large portion of the H-1Bs are hired by Indian outsourcing companies; many of these firms are run by people from southern India; and Congress and, at least until now, the White House, has paid much more attention to the desires of the employers than the needs of the American workers who lose jobs to the H-1Bs.
And all of these factors reinforce each other over time, giving added momentum to the strong southern Indian preference in hiring for these jobs.
To further support the hiring preferences shown above we have an immigration law that allows blatant ethnic discrimination. Some of the outsourcing companies hire 99 percent of their H-1Bs from India, as CIS and Computerworld have previously reported, while some others just hire 97 percent.
Maybe, just maybe, the new administration will notice and do something about it, like reducing the H-1B program to a justifiable one that deals with really unusual needs in the American work place, not just the wage-cutting hiring of computer programmers, largely from southern India.
Can the Trump administration resist the siren calls of Silicon Valley, and the lobbying of the Indian government — both calling for an expansion of the program? We can only hope so.