For instance, from 2007 to 2009, Infosys received approval for just over 9,600 H-1B visas. During that period, only 476 of the temporary visa holders, or about 5%, applied for permanent residency.
For some companies, like Microsoft, significant numbers of H-1B visa holders seek permanent residency. Of the 3,318 H-1Bs workers at Microsoft during that period, 67% applied for a green card.
Citing five-year profit margins of 20% or more at some offshore firms, Hira argued that the temporary visa is being used to deliver lower cost services. "If the goals are really to bring the best and brightest and keep them here, we need to look at this kind of data," said Hira.
Hunt argued that the benefits of offshoring have to be looked at in the overall context of the trade of goods.
"There really is no change in policy that you can make to the economy that improves everybody's well being, there are always going to be winners and losers," said Hunt.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.