Published August 8, 2017
The H-1B visa is among the most popular avenues through which U.S. companies employ foreign nationals. H-1B visa issuance depends primarily on two factors: 1) a U.S. employer offering at market wage a position in a “specialty occupation” – most often defined as a position that typically requires the worker to have attained a university degree, or equivalent, related to the position at issue and 2) the foreign national having the requisite university degree or equivalent.
In recent years, U.S. employers have filed around 200,000 H-1B visa petitions with U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) annually. With a yearly supply of only 85,000 H-1B visas available (not including “cap exempt” H-1B petitioners) the competition is fierce, and employers are prohibited from filing multiple petitions for the same worker in hopes of increasing odds of being picked.
In the past week, CIS released interesting and revealing data with regard to users of the H-1B visa program, in terms of which companies are the most frequent filers, the national origin of petitioned workers and salary levels offered.
The companies with the most approved H-1B petitions for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 are three major information technology companies: Cognizant Technology Solutions, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. Cognizant obtained 15,500 approvals for 2015 and 21,400 in 2016. Infosys obtained more than 7,900 approvals in 2015 and more than 12,700 in 2016. Tata obtained more than 7,900 approvals in 2015 and more than 11,200 in 2016.
For 2016, other major H-1B petitioners included Microsoft Corp. with more than 3,500 approved petitions, and Google Inc. with more than 2,500 approved petitions.
As far as salaries are concerned, the vast majority of H-1B workers approved for visas were offered an annual wage of at least $50,000, with more than 60% being offered a salary of over $75,000 per year.
The country sending the most H-1B workers to the U.S. continues to be India, especially in the IT professions.
In terms of adjudication trends, the Trump Administration, pursuant to its “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, is applying stricter scrutiny to all H-1B visa petitions and working toward a goal, via various regulatory initiatives, to ensure H-1B visas are given to the “most skilled or highest-paid” workers.
PUBLISHED August 8, 2017– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2017, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois