It’s these Indian universities—not the IITs—that churn out the most H-1B techies

Big numbers winning.
Big numbers winning.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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Where were most Indian H-1B visa-holders educated?

The obvious answer might seem to be the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), or the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)—but it’s not.

In 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued 85,000 H-1B visas. Of these, a little over 20,000 went to Indians, according to data sourced by Quartz last month from the office of foreign labour certification.

Chennai’s Anna University topped the list with 850 of its former students securing the H-1B; Hyderabad’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) was second with 747. The IITs and BITS had just over 60 each.

However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story, given the huge difference in the enrollment numbers of the IITs, IIMs and other universities. For instance, the IITs offer fewer than 12,000 seats per year, while Anna University has approximately 200,000. Since the H-1Bs are allotted via lottery, having a larger base means universities with more students bag more visas, too.

It’s not much different at the master’s level either. In fiscal 2017, JNTU and Anna University bagged the top two spots while the IITs barely made it to the top 25 list in this category. 

But many US universities are also featured on the list at the master’s level. That’s not entirely surprising considering that Indians make up the second-largest international student population in the US and 55% of all post-graduate foreign students are from India, while the share is only around 13% at the undergraduate level.