The US government has tightened its grip on the issue of visa distributions. Travel bans put in place, visas being rationed out, refugees and grandparents being stalled or whole countries being barred from coming into the US – this and such other restrictions have made one too many travelers jittery about coming to the US. Irrespective, the Indian subcontinent continues to enjoy the lion’s share of the most coveted H1B visa, an employment based visa. How come?
Immigration statistics released by the US Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) explains why Indians turn out to be the biggest beneficiaries of most US visas and lawful permanent residency regulations. Some of them are –
A large chunk of the Indian diaspora has a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. 77% of Indians compare to the 29% of the rest of the immigrant populations have a college degree. Moreover, more than half of the college educated Indians have an advanced degree. Per the Reforming the American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, this would garner 13 whole points, the highest in the point based immigration plan. This gives a big advantage to Indians.
English language proficiency
Almost 11% of the Indian immigrant diaspora speaks only English. India being a country with a lot of language diversity, English turns out to be the most commonly spoken language. This gets 12 points which again puts Indians on top of the pecking order.
Specialization in information technology
The IT sector in the United States is largely supported by the Silicon Valley counterpart in India. Besides providing cheaper labor, the Indian IT sector itself has seen a tremendous boom. This growth in the local workforce has been the primary supply of labor to Silicon Valley in California. Big companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are the major recipients of the H1B visa holders.
Advantage of age
One of the main requirements of all US immigrant regulations has been that they should be able to contribute towards the US economy. And this can only be done by the working age-group between 26 and 31 that earns ten points on the Point-based system. According to the statistics, Indian immigrants fell in the median age of 39, much younger than other foreign-born population whose median age is 44 years.
With the majority of the Indian population being well qualified, holding a higher college degree and falling within the working age-group, their annual salaries have been found to be higher than the average American household. One of the demands of the Trump government was that the minimum salary for a H1B applicant should be in the range of $130,000. Median income of Indian immigrants is $107,000 which is another reason they qualify for most of the H1B lottery of 65,000 visas issued.
Within the US
Majority of the Indian diaspora is settled in California with 20%, New Jersey-11%, Texas 9%, New York 7%, and Illinois 7%. These also happen to be the states with most job opportunities, which is not a coincidence given that one in every three Indians living in the US lived in one of these four metro areas.
Another way people come into the United States is through other visas like the F1 student visa. Armed with a higher degree from the US, these students have a higher propensity to get jobs here and settle down locally. Second only to China, India supplies close to 16% of students of all International students. This automatically puts in more H1B visas in the Indian’s pocket than the others.