Indians accounted for 75% of all H1B visas in the US in the last two years
- According to the the United States Citizenship and
ImmigrationServices, 74.2% and 75.6% of H1B visas in 2016 and 2017, respectively, went to Indians.
- However, there was a reduction in the number of new beneficiaries of the program from India.
- Demand for the
H1B visais higher than ever, but itcould soon be a casualty of the Trumpadministration’s “Buy American and Hire American” mandate.
According to data from the USCIS, Indians accounted for 74.2% of all the 345, 262 H1B visas that were approved in 2016 and 75.6% of the 365,682 visas approved in 2017. Next on the list was China, whose citizens accounted for less than 9.5% of all H1B visas in both the years.
The report did, however, show a reduction in the number of new beneficiaries of the program from India. The number of Indians approved for their first H1B visas fell from 70,737 in 2016 to 67,815 last year. Infact, Indians accounted for less than 63% of new visas in both years. The increase in the total visas given out to Indians came from renewals, or continuing employment.
As the US becomes a less attractive destination for Indian IT talent, other countries could step in to fill the gap. Earlier this year, the Japanese government outlined plans to hire 200,000 professionals from India to support the expansion of its IT infrastructure. Reports have also indicated that Canada may be becoming the new destination for Indian talent.
The H1B visa allows skilled workers from foreign countries to work in the US for a period of three years, pending a renewal after that. The maximum term of employment is capped at six years. It is often used by technology companies to hire engineers and computer programmers. Computer-related occupations comprised nearly 70% of all H1B visas in 2016 and 2017.
Demand for the visa is higher than ever. The annual threshold for the visa was reached within just five days last month. But, the H1B visa system could soon be a casualty of the Trump administration’s “Buy American and Hire American” mandate, and the effect of this will be borne disproportionately by Indians.
In February this year, President Trump tightened requirements of proof for H1B visa-holders employed at third-party worksites - a move that is expected to significantly affect the hiring practices of Indian IT companies in the US.
The order also makes the visa of an employee valid for the duration of the time he or she is employed at the third-party worksite, not for the regular duration of three years. The Trump government is also mulling a policy that disallows the spouses of H1B visa-holders from seeking employment.
The obvious way to avoid the crackdown is to graduate from the H1B category to a