Drastic Drop Among H1B Visa Applicants in FY Yr 2016-17

With the financial year nearing an end on September 30 coupled with the uproar over H1B work visas this past year generated by the Trump administration, there are some interesting statistics emerging regarding this visa that mirror similar ups-and-downs. While Indian applicants continue to stay on top as the majority applicants, the numbers were down by 53,000 from total applications compare to last financial year with respect to Indians alone. China was a distant second with just 9% approvals for its H1B petitions. They were followed by Canada and South Korea respectively.

Inspite of constituting 74% the absolute total numbers, it did not compare to the 3,00,000 applications from Indian H1B aspirants in the FY Yr. 2015-16. This was in the after-math of the uncertainties posed by the current administration wherein the H1B intake was made tighter and the total cap drastically cut down from previous years. There has been concern that the H1B visa process is being misused and unduly utilized to the advantage of certain India-based companies like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. As a result, these companies have begun to hire and train locally and generate goodwill by creating employment on American soil rather that bringing in H1B workers from outside.

Currently, all applications are yet to be approved. However, as of June 30th, approximately 1,97,129 H1B visas that included both extensions and new applications were approved. This was out of a total of 3,36,000 petitions that the US has received for the FY Yr. 2017. In addition, the last 30 days have seen close to 1,433 approvals going through. To be noted, H1B visa premium processing was set in motion for certain cap-exempt categories including petitions by higher educational institutions as well as for physicians and petitioners under the medical profession, per the Conrad Program. Premium processing for the remaining applicants continues to be suspended and is said to resume as workloads permit.

The available data indicates that the technology sector dominates the H1B petitions with software firms taking in the lion’s share of the allotted pie. This automatically puts companies like Cognizant Technologies, Infosys, TCS, Accenture and Wipro on top of the list and consequently, states like California with the over-shadow of the Silicon Valley takes the cake with 92,363 approvals this year compare to 16,301 in Georgia. Trackitt gives a detailed summary of these statistical numbers both categorized both under states as well as companies..

It is reassuring to know that at a time when President Trump backs a proposal in which H1B petitions should be granted only to the visa holder who is under 30 years of age with a Master’s degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math, data released by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for the last 11 years indicate that majority of the H-1B visa beneficiaries were in the age group of 25-34 years and held a higher educational degree.

Coming a full circle, Indians applying for the H1B visa has increased by 80% since 2006-07. Today, the US government believes that the local citizens are losing out on opportunities and is making an effort to curb and tighten this influx. Time will tell whether H1b applications will continue this rise or buckle under the pressures put up by the US government.