Sunday, September 17, 2023

Pakistan Among Top Sources of Foreign-Born STEM Workers in America

As of 2019, there were 35,000 Pakistan-born STEM workers in the United States, according to the American Immigration Council. They included information technologists, software developers, engineers and scientists. These figures do not include medical doctors and healthcare workers. 

Foreign-Born STEM Workers in America. Source: American Immigration Council

Foreign-born workers make up a growing share of America's STEM workforce. As of 2019, foreign-born workers made up almost a quarter of all STEM workers in the country. This is a significant increase from 2000, when just 16.4% of the country’s STEM workforce was foreign-born. Between 2000 and 2019, the overall number of STEM workers in the United States increased by 44.5 percent, from 7.5 million to more than 10.8 million, according to American Immigration Council

India and Pakistan Among Top 10 Countries Receiving US Immigrant Visas. Source: Visual Capitalist

India topped the top 10 list of foreign-born STEM workers with 721,000, followed by China (273,000), Mexico (119,000), Vietnam (100,000), Philippines (87,000), South Korea (64,000), Canada (56,000), Taiwan (53,000), Russia (45,000) and Pakistan (35,000).  Enormous number of Indian STEM workers in the United States can at least partly be attributed to the fact that India's "body shops" have mastered the art of gaming the US temporary work visa system. Last year, Indian nationals sponsored by "body shops" like Cognizant, Infosys and TCS received 166,384 H1B visas for work in the United States. By comparison, only 1,107 Pakistanis were granted H1B visas in Fiscal Year 2022.  In addition to H1B work visas, 9,300 Indian nationals and 7,200 Pakistani nationals received immigrant visas to settle in the United States as permanent residents in 2021. 

Doctor Brain Drain. Source: Statista

In addition to 35,000 Pakistan-born STEM workers, there were 12,454 Pakistan-born and Pakistan-trained medical doctors practicing in the United States, making the South Asian nation the second largest source of medical doctors in America.  Pakistan produced 157,102 STEM graduates last year, putting it among the world's top dozen or so countries. About 43,000 of these graduates are in information technology (IT).

Top 10 Recipient Countries of H-1B Visas. Source: USCIS

H1B Visas Issued in Pakistan. Source:

Every year, applicants sponsored by Indian body shops claim the lion's share of H1B visas. In 2022, Indians received 166,384 new H1B visas, accounting for nearly three quarters of all such visas issued by the US government. The figures reported as India IT exports are in fact the wages earned by millions of Indian H1B workers in the United States.  

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Skull said...

Usually people put a hard cutoff at 5 to define a top position, but whatever floats your boat.

Majeed said...

Then why do we have G20?

Even G7 is more than 5

If we freeze only at Top five then Indian dream of getting into UNSC is permanently closed.

Jang said...

Oh damn that is shockingly low. I was expecting it to be more.

Taiwan, Vietnam, Phillipines are ahead of us even.

Most of our workforce in NA is with the medical field I believe, or self business, not STEM.

Riaz Haq said...

Jang: "Taiwan, Vietnam, Phillipines are ahead of us even"

There are a lot more Filipinos, Taiwanese and Vietnamese immigrants in the US than Pakistanis.

The largest countries of origin for Asian immigrants in the United States are:

India (2.7 million, or 19%)
China, including Hong Kong (2.5 million, 18%)
The Philippines (2 million, 15%)
Vietnam (1.4 million, 10%)
South Korea and North Korea (1 million, 7%)
​There are less than half a million foreign-born Pakistanis in the US.

Besides, Indians dominate the H1B worker population in the US.

Vineeth said...

"Enormous number of Indian STEM workers in the United States can at least partly be attributed to the fact that India's 'body shops' have mastered the art of gaming the US temporary work visa system. Last year, Indian nationals sponsored by 'body shops' like Cognizant, Infosys and TCS received 166,384 H1B visas for work in the United States. By comparison, only 1,107 Pakistanis were granted H1B visas in Fiscal Year 2022."

Am I sensing some bitterness and "sour grapes" here? :)

During my stint in the IT industry, I happened to work in one of these "body shops" (TCS, to be precise) and the local Indian "body shop" subsidiary of an MNC (IBM). From my limited experience in the industry (I never went for any "on-site assignments" in US or elsewhere), most of us "techies" working in these "body shops" here weren't doing any cutting edge stuff, but merely back office work - maintaining their internal systems, creating some web portals etc., so much so that most of us (including myself) could be called nothing more than "software coolies".

And I do believe that the governmental policy here of encouraging IT parks and "body shops" at the expense of manufacturing and hardware (especially the electronics and semi-conductor manufacturing) is the primary reason why India has no counterparts to Chinese tech giants like Huawei, Xiaomi etc and has to import much of its electronics goods from that country. (This is in stark contrast to the automotive sector where many Indian brands like Tata, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Bajaj, TVS, Hero and Royal Enfield have been spreading their wings.)

That said, I do have to give credit to these Indian "body shops" in doing its part from saving the country from an economic crisis of the kind Pakistan is facing now. Though the country did not become another China, it saved itself from becoming another Pakistan.

Vineeth said...

The primary weakness I have seen with Indian IT firms (which are aptly "body shops") is that they look for quick bucks by seeking outsourced routine work, and haven't invested enough in "innovation" or R&D of products. When I did happen to work in a team that was developing a product for bulk testing of mobile apps, the management seemed directionless and clueless and the team lacking motivation - with the predictable result that the product did not win any customers and wrapped up after a few years. To be fair, Indian IT firms like TCS, Infosys and Cognizant have given jobs to hundreds of thousands of engineering graduates in India, and have indirectly created employment for even more through other supporting industries. But they don't have any innovations, products or brand identity to boast of even after three decades in business.

It isn't that the outsourcing model is bad. After all, China wouldn't have become the economic powerhouse it is now had not Western firms invested in Chinese SEZs in the '80s and '90s to outsource their manufacturing to cheap Chinese labour. And for long Chinese brands that grew out of such outsourced manufacturing were ridiculed as "copy cats" for creating cheaper products that mimicked its Western counterparts without the quality. But look at them now!

India's own automotive companies started out by manufacturing cheaper licensed copies of foreign models. But these days they do in-house design and manufacturing of motorcycles, cars and commercial vehicles for domestic market and exports. On the other hand, in their quest for easy money Indian IT firms failed to invest enough in R&D and product development.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Thanks for sharing this , Sir Mexico is ranked at no.3 in this list . Sir how good are Mexicans in studies specially in the field of science and technology ?

Do Mexican students perform good in the universities of America ?


Ahmed said...

Dear Mr. Vineeth

Thanks for your post , sir I wanted to know that in the last 2 decades has any IT company in India produced or developed any softwares like games and cell phone apps that are world famous or are known in the world ?


Riaz Haq said...

Ahmed: "Sir Mexico is ranked at no.3 in this list . Sir how good are Mexicans in studies specially in the field of science and technology?"

It probably has more to do with numbers.

Besides, Mexico is a member of OECD, an organization of rich industrialized nations.

It's also a member of NAFTA, North America Free Trade Agreement. Other two NAFTA members are US and Canada.

Mexico's GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) was estimated at $22,216 in 2022.

Mexicans represent the largest group of immigrants living in the United States. That’s been true since 1980, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. And the Mexico-US route is the largest migration corridor in the world.

But the total number of Mexican immigrants living in the US has been on the decline for more than a decade.

An estimated 10.7 million Mexican immigrants lived in the US in 2021, roughly 1 million fewer than the number a decade earlier.

Anonymous said...

Core Banking Products
Infosys:Finacle(Every major Indian bank runs on this except SBI)

There are half a dozen others though less successful.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

I hope you are doing well , have an important question . Sir don’t you think that Isreal has actually outperformed India to a much greater extent and in a far better way in the progress of Science , technology and IT ? We see that most of the innovative work and inventions in the field of IT and other technologies are actually coming from Isreal . They have a very strong R& D sector where lot of research work takes place specially by their university professors and PHD students unlike in India .

Sir is it true that India receives far more investments and financial support from America , UK and from other financial institutions as compared to Isreal ? Inspite of this India couldn’t achieve what Isreal has achieved .

Riaz Haq said...

Latest US Census Data Released in 2023

Pakistani-Americans Median Household Earning: $106,281, Mean Earnings: $149,178


White Americans: Median household Income $78,636 Mean Earnings $112,415

African Americans : $52,238 $76,888

American Indian Alaska Native $61,778 $85,838

Asian Indian $152,341 $197,732

Bangladeshi $80,288 $116,500

Chinese $101,738 $160,049

Taiwanese $122,952 $180,906

Filipino $109,090 $122,635

Pakistanis $106,286 $149,178

Nepal $92,262 $120,146

Asians $104,646 $149,363

Riaz Haq said...

Social Realities of Indian Americans: Results From the 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Thirty percent of non-citizen IAAS respondents possess a green card (or a permanent residency card), which places them on a pathway to gaining U.S. citizenship. Twenty-seven percent are H-1B visa holders, a visa status for high-skilled or specialty workers in the United States that has historically been dominated by the technology sector. On average, an H-1B visa holder reports living in the United States for eight years, although 36 percent of H-1B beneficiaries report spending more than a decade in the country (that is, they arrived before 2010). Eighteen percent of non-citizens reside in the United States on an H-4 visa, a category for immediate family members of H-1B visa holders. Fourteen percent of non-citizens are on F-1, J-1, or M-1 visas—categories of student or scholar visas—while another 5 percent hold an L-1 visa, a designation available to employees of an international company with offices in the United States. A small minority of non-citizen respondents—6 percent—claim some other visa status.


The overwhelming majority of Hindus with a caste identity—more than eight in ten—self-identify as belonging to the category of General or upper caste.

Riaz Haq said...

US records 16% increase in admission of Pakistani students

In the past two years, an overall 33% increase has been noted
A United States Department of State report recorded a 16% increase in the admission of Pakistani students to universities across the country.

The annual Open Doors Report for 2022-23 report, prepared in collaboration with the Institute of International Education (IIE), highlighted a substantial increase in the number of students from Pakistan studying in higher education institutions in the US.

"During 2022-2023, there were 10,164 Pakistani students, compared to 8,772 in the previous year, indicating an impressive 16% increase," the report read.

It also underscores the continued prominence of the US as the top destination for international study in the 2022-2023 academic year. Notably, the data reveals a significant milestone, with the US hosting over one million (1,057,188) international students during this period, marking a remarkable 12% increase from the previous academic year and representing the fastest growth rate in over four decades.


International students in the U.S., by country of origin 2022/23 | Statista

10,164 students from Pakistan studying in America, ranking the country the 16th largest source of international students in the US