H-1B Visas by the Numbers: 2017-2018

Date of Publication: 
April, 2018
Source Organization: 
National Foundation for American Policy

More H-1B visas are going to U.S. technology companies, reflecting the strong demand for high-skilled talent in the U.S. economy, and fewer visas are being used by Indian-based companies, which continues a recent trend, according to an analysis of government data obtained by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). The new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data would appear to undermine the argument that the federal government should impose new restrictions on H-1B visas and keep the visas at a low annual limit of 85,000 for companies, which equals only 0.05% of the U.S. labor force of 160 million. H-1B temporary visas are important as they are typically the only practical way a high-skilled foreign national working abroad or an international studenteducated in the United States can work long-term in America.

In April 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it had received 190,000 H-1B applications, or 105,000 more applications than the 85,000-annual limit would permit. The top 7 Indian-based companies received only 8,468 approved H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2017, a decline of 43% for these companies since FY 2015. Given that 199,000 applications were filed in FY 2017 for the FY 2018 cap, the data show even if none of these companies received new H-1B visas the annual limit still would have been reached on the first day of the April filing period. The data indicate the problem is not which companies are receiving H-1B visas but that the 85,000-annual limit is too low for an economy the size of the United States.

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National Foundation for American Policy. (2018). H-1B Visas by the Numbers: 2017-2018. Retrieved from https://nfap.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/H-1B-Visas-By-The-Number-FY-2017.NFAP-Policy-Brief.April-2018.pdf