Saturday, 27 May, 2017

H-1B Applications Drop Amid Uncertainty, Lottery Held To Select Winners

Thanks To Trump Administration H1-B Visa Petitions Have Dropped H-1B visa applications drop as US employers anticipate reforms
Craig Ferguson | 19 April, 2017, 06:02

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has long maintained that a bachelor's degree is not required for an entry-level programmer position and does not approve H-1B petitions for information technology workers in those jobs.

Non-premium visa petitions can take as much as eight months before they're approved, immigration lawyers say.

A total of 85,000 H-1B visas are issued annually and are meant for foreign workers who have specialised skills to spend a maximum of six years working in the USA for a company that has sponsored them. And undoubtedly, 2017 elections are the reason for this.

"Because of the visa-related matters, we have to get more local hiring done", Vishal Sikka, CEO of the Bangalore, India-based company, told investors last week.

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Also, H-1B visa holders are not prohibited from changing jobs; they may do so freely upon the filing of an H-1B transfer petition by another sponsoring employer. "A lot of people are looking at America, and (wondering) if it is still a place to make business". That includes petitions of H-1B employees who were counted against the cap in previous years. He didn't know by how much, but industry sources said it could be by as much as 20% or 30%.

The agency announced the closure of the process for 2018 on Monday with the lottery that has been in the crosshairs of the programme's critics who believe it's being abused to outsource American jobs and to offshore them eventually. It's unclear if the drop in applications was due to speculation that President Donald Trump would push for changes to guest worker programs.

The start of H-1B season was met with pointed reminders from the government that it is paying close attention to the visa. According to data from Goldman Sachs, India's biggest IT companies rely heavily on workers from India to staff their US operations.

Trump has repeatedly singled out the H-1B program as an example of how the government and special interests in Silicon Valley team up to undermine USA workers.

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