H-1B Applications Hit a Record High of 233,000; Chances of Receiving a Visa: 36%


This year the USCIS received a record number of H-1B applications, totaling over 233,000. With only 85,000 H-1B visas available, including the additional 20,000 for the United States Master’s quota, only 36% of applicants have a chance of receiving a coveted H-1B visa.

Applications are up from 172,500 for the 2015 fiscal year and 124,000 for 2014 fiscal year. This not only means that the number of applications have greatly increased but with the quota remaining at 85,000 visas, the chances of receiving a visa have dropped by half, from 69% to 36%.

Interestingly enough there’s no shortage in demand for workers in the technology field. According to USA Today, of the highest paying companies in America, nine of the top fifteen are technology companies that depend on H1B to find talented, highly-skilled workers to drive their businesses.

There has been such rapid growth in the information technology sector that the labor market can’t keep up the demand. These technology-based companies require highly-skilled workers which many foreign workers qualify for. Many technology companies prefer to bring the workers into the company to work, and not out-source the work, because of the level of judgment the worker must exercise in these jobs.

The cap on H-1B is one of the reasons these companies are unable to find the appropriate employees. Due to the constraints on the amount of visas issued each year, these companies cannot rely on bringing in foreign workers with these skills due to the H-1B scarcity. Without H-1B’s available, the companies may not be able to find the needed employees.

Hope could be on the horizon. Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah has proposed an overhaul of the H-1B visa quota, urging Congress to increase the H1B cap to 195,000. This bill, called I-Square, would also eliminate the Master’s cap for applicants who have earned an advance degree in science, technology, education or math.

This bill has been met with its fair share of criticism however. Some opponents claim that the vast increase in H-1B’s will lead to a lack of technology jobs for United States citizens. Many contend that an increase in H-1B workers will undercut the American worker because foreign workers may be willing to accept a lower wage to do the same job.

Looking to the H-1B statistics however there is a clear indication that there are more applicants who have secured an employer to hire them in the United States than will be able to secure a visa and perform that job. Increase in American business will lead to more job creation, expansion of businesses within the United States and further development in the technology field. The technology industry is booming in the United States and is requiring more workers than can be provided.   Without the available visas, technology industry may be forced to move companies outside of the United States to Canada or other countries that can meet the need.

If you weren’t chosen in the lottery this year, there many be other options available. Contact the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal today to discuss any H-1B questions you have. Attorney Khandelwal is an experienced business immigration attorney located in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

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