April 07, 2008

Geospatial Firms not using H1B Visa

Interesting to see that the latest opening of the H1-B visa lottery has started once again (April 1) and there's not quite as much excitement as there was last year - recall last year some 130,000 apps were received on day 1. However, what is interesting is some of the numbers coming up from last year. I was surprised to find a detailed spreadsheet that lists every company that petitioned successfully for an employee on H1-B status - to my surprise there was very few GIS/geospatial technology forms (particularly the big names) ESRI, Intergraph, Bentley etc... Autodesk tops out the firms in our industry with a relatively small number really (15), given the size of the firms. I think the real surprise comes because there's been so much discussion recently about firms having trouble finding employees to fill all their vacancies, and that problem is supposed to get worse. There's no doubt the large GIS firms are bringing higher-lever people here from abroad, however, they are likely doing that by transferring existing employees from foreign offices, then using the L visa process and shying away from the hassles associated with the H1B - there's also the TN for trade between Canada/US/Mexico which is likely being used quite extensively. For more on the H1B lottery for 2009 see here


Anonymous said...

As far as I can see in the sheet, ESRI had 43 hires, which is almost 3 times as much as AutoDesk, which you say is at the top.
Also remember that these numbers are the actual hired people. Remember that most didn't get their application through.

Dave Smith said...

In the federal consulting sector, typically IT workers have to be US citizens or US permanent resident (green card holders).

Amazing to see that there continue to be so many foreign individuals with geospatial programming skills, as compared to the relatively few domestic ones that one gets as applicants, or sees posting resumes... I tend to think our own sons and daughters just aren't pursuing technical fields like they should, and the universities are often lagging behind in providing the rich skillsets for today's market...