H-1B visa nominations from IT firms likely to see a steep drop this year

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H-1B visa nominations from IT firms likely to see a steep drop this year

H-1B visa nominations from IT firms likely to see a steep drop this year

The US will start accepting H-1B visa filings for FY2020 from April. The period always comes with drama, excitement and disappointment as few employees get nominated.

However, anxiety has replaced excitement after the Trump administration tightened the visa regulations, resulting in increasing rejections and exodus of Indians from the US since 2017.

The H-1B and the grand American dream began to slowly losing its charm.

Karthikeyan Palanisamy*, a project manager in a major IT company in India, said: “The scene now is quite different. People are not excited at the prospect of getting nominated for an H-1B visa given the negativity towards it. Now for the most the hope of getting an H-1B is 99.9 percent negative,” he said.

Number of applications that are getting rejected have increased. According to a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data, close to 60 percent of companies that applied for a visa on behalf of foreign workers received requests for additional information in the last quarter of 2018. It was 46 percent in 2017 and 28 percent in 2016. The approval rate fell to 75 percent in the final quarter of 2018 from 83 percent in 2017 and 92 percent in 2016.

In addition the USCIS have been changing the visa rules every few months. “One time it is purely based on lottery, next time they want to do a face-to-face interview. Now it is a skill-based evaluation. Who knows what change will be next?” asks Deepan Karthick, an employee of another IT company.

With so many changes, companies are reducing the number of H-1B nominations and employees themselves are not too keen given the complications. According to a project manager, while there used be a 10,000-15,000 nomination few years back it is likely to come down to 3,000 this year. “Even in this 3,000 we don’t how many will get the visa and how many will get to travel even if they did get it,” the manager added.

Even as the number of people getting an H-1B has come down, people holding a valid H-1B are unable to travel. “It is not just like you can simply travel just because you have a valid H-1B visa. There have been instances where people asked to return for lack of documentation,” the manager added.

Companies instead of wasting resources, are utilising the existing visa holders in the US.

“It is advantage for guys in the US with H-1B. There is so much demand but there are not many talents available, especially in the space of artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud,” said Palanisamy.

Another side of the story is the increasing interest in working in the non-US geographies. With the US dream going for a toss, IT employees are now looking at different geographies for onsite opportunities. Palanisamy said, “Employees are not interested in H-1B anymore, myself included. Many of them are looking for non-US visa, which are less stressful.”

H-1B visa process trivia

  • H-1B has a cap of 65,000 for regular quota and 20,000 for Master’s quota (US Masters eligible)
  • Filing of H-1B papers start from April 1, 2019.
  • Once H-1B petitions are filed, it goes through a lottery process through which the employees for whom H-1B can be processed are selected. (Recently there have been changes made to the rules on how employees are selected for H-1B)
  • The fee to process one H-1B can vary between $1,600 to $7,400 plus attorney fee as of FY2018.
H1B Fee – Paid TowardsAmount in USD
Base filing fee$460
AICWA Fee$750  or $1,500
Fraud prevent & detection fee$500
Fee based on Public Law 114-113 ( if applicable)$4000
Premium processing fee (Optional)$1,225
Immigration Attorney FeeVaries from $500 to $3000

Source: Redbus2us.com

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