US H-1B visa update

Recently the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that they have received sufficient quota of H-1B visa for 2018. The USCIS has received about 200 000 petitions this year compared to the previous year 236 000 it is visible that there is a drop of applicants.

The quota was 65 000 for applicants holding a bachelor’s degree or similar and 20 000 for holders of US master’s degree or other advanced degrees. Until now the process of selecting the visa winners was a computer-based random selection.

Earlier this year the new US President stopped the H-1B visa programme as announced at that time for about 6 months. This decision made a lot of noise in the media and many people and companies were criticizing that political move as unnecessary. Most of the H-1B visa holders are people from Tech and IT industry. Silicon Valley and its Tech companies are the majority of the companies in need of such people. Stopping this programme will cause serious issues not only to certain individuals but to the business as well. The USCIS still accepts petitions for the following situations:

  • To extend the validity of H-1B visa and to secure time to stay in the United States;
  • employment terms change for current H-1B holder;
  • Allow H-1B visa holder to change employers;
  • Allow H-1B holder to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

The most recent news are that the government wants to totally transform this programme from a lottery based to a merit-based system of selecting the best applicants.

So far the programme was granting visas on random bases and about 80% of holders were lower-paid employees. The reform should provide an approach to select applicants that will be the most qualified and skilled people. This way the government will avoid violation of principles of the programme of selecting people that will be paid less and with lower qualifications.

More information about US visas here.