Everything you want to know about the H-1B visa

World Today

Everything you want to know about the H-1B visPhoto from CFP

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on April 18, 2017, that calls for a review of a foreign worker visa program, known as the H-1B visa — with the aim reforming the program.

Called “Buy American and Hire American,” the order is in line with Trump’s campaign promise to give priority to U.S. workers.

With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world: We’re going to defend our workers, protect our jobs, and finally put America first,” Trump told hundreds of factory workers at the headquarters of Snap-on Inc., a tool manufacturer, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, before signing the document.

What is H-1B visa?

The Immigration Act of 1990 was signed by President George H.W. Bush and increased the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter into the United States every year.

The Act established the H-1B visa, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations.

The visa typically requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and currently 65,000 of these visas are issued per year. An additional 20,000 visas are allowed for foreign nationals who have earned a master’s degree or higher in the United States.

People who work at a college or university, a nonprofit organization, or a government research organization are not subject the numerical cap.

Starting in 2009, H-1B visas were granted through a lottery system. In April, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the number of H-1B visa applications for fiscal year 2018 fell to below 200,000 for the first time in several years.


Who uses an H1-B visa?

Most H-1B visa holders come from India and China. These two countries made up 82 percent of the H-1B visas issued in 2016, according to the data compiled by the website Statista. In addition to new H-1B visas issued every year, 100,000 existing H-1B visas are extended or re-issued each year, according to Statista.

Infographic: India & China Accounted For 82% Of H-1B Visas In 2016 | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

What companies want H1-B visas?

Many of the biggest tech companies in the United States, such as Google, Intel and Microsoft say these visas are critical to their business.

According to Myvisajobs.com, a website for foreign workers seeking jobs in the U.S., Infosys led the number of H-1B visa applications at 25,405 in 2017. The IT consulting company Capgemini had 17,479 applications, and Indian multinational IT company Tata Consultancy Services had 13,134 applications. Other top companies seeking H-1B applications for 2017 included IBM, Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, Google, Microsoft, Ernst& Young, Amazon, Apple, and Intel.

Infographic: How Tech Companies Rely on Foreign Talent | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

The future of the H-1B visa

Trump’s executive order calls for stricter enforcement of existing H-1B rules with the aim of cracking down on fraud and abuse.

Following a review of the system, the Secretary of State, Attorney General, Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Homeland Security are required to suggest reforms “as soon as practicable,” according to the executive order.