Amazon, World’s Largest MBA Recruiter, Again Tops List Of H-1B Hirers

Amazon is the top tech employer for most leading B-schools — and in many cases, the top employer of a school’s MBAs altogether. File photo

Amazon, the world’s largest recruiter of MBA graduates, again tops the list of employwers who gained the most approved H-!b petitions in fiscal year 2021. Amazon was approved to hire for initial employment a record 6,182 employees under the H-1B visa program, up from 4,774 a year earlier.

Other major U.S. companies with large numbers of H-1B hires include Google, IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, Facebook, Accenture, Apple, Goldman Sachs, Oracle, Intel, Ernst & Young, Cisco and Walmart, all among the top 25 companies in gaining approvals (see table below). H-1B petitions for “initial employment” are primarily for new employment, typically for companies a case that would count against the H-1B annual limit.

The 29% in approved petitions by Amazon was among the biggest increases. Apple’s year-over-year increase also was sizable, going to 1,071 from 749 in fiscal year 2020, as was Goldman Sachs, which won approval for 640 hires vs. 399 a year earlier. For many companies, including Google and Microsoft, H1-B hires last year fell from year-earlier levels. Google went to 1,453 approved petitions from 1,682 in 2020, while Microsoft fell to 1,240 from 1,791.


Amazon has become one of the world’s leading recruiters of MBA talent, bringing aboard more than 1,000 new MBA grads a year, far larger than McKinsey, Bain or the Boston Consulting Group. At the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Amazon hired 25 members of the MBA Class of 2021, more than any other firm with the exception of McKinsey which hired just one more MBA.

Only 2% of Amazon’s H-1B petitions were denied by the U.S. government last year when the overall denial rate for. Initial employment was 4% in FY 2021, the lowest known level since data on H-1B denial rates became available. The 4% level in FY 2021 is much lower than the denial rate of 13% in FY 2017, 24% in FY 2018, 21% in FY 2019 and 13% in FY 2020 during the Trump administration.

The more generous policy in granting H-1B petitions is good news for international students in U.S. MBA programs who want to remain in the U.S. and has contributed to a significant increase in employment rates for international grads. At the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, the job offer rate for international MBAs at graduation actually exceeded the rate for domestic graduates. Some 93.2% of the international students had job offers at commencement versus 92.7% for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Three months after graduation, the job offer rate of 97.7% last year was exactly the same for both international and domestic MBA grads at Booth.

The success coincides with Trump administration losses in federal courts according to a new analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). “Judges declared the Trump administration’s actions to be unlawful, forcing changes in restrictive immigration policies that resulted in the denial rate for new H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2021 to drop to 4%, far lower than the denial rate of 24% in FY 2018, 21% in FY 2019 and 13% in FY 2020,” according to the NFAP. “The Trump administration managed to carry out what judges determined to be unlawful policies for nearly four years, and the policies imposed significant costs on employers, visa holders and the U.S. economy, likely contributing to more work and talent moving to other countries.

NFAP closely tracks H-1B petitions and denial rates. Absent significant changes in government policies, high denial rates are unusual since employers would be unlikely to apply for H-1B petitions for individuals who do not qualify given the time and expense.”

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