H1B Visa applications drop is drastic so far. What does this mean for applicants? Do you have a better chance of getting the visa?
Applications for the H-1B for the financial year 2018-2019 began to be accepted on April 2nd 2018. This year, approximately 1.9 lakh applications have been received by the USCIS. However, this marks a drop of 4.5% as compared to the applications received in 2017. This is the not the first time this has happened. In 2017, the number of H1B visa applications drop is critical and is by approximately 0.4 lakhs.
What is the H1B visa?
The H1B has been the most popular visa class for immigrants to the USA. This is a dual intent visa that allows the visa holder to live and work in the USA for up to 3 years and makes him or her eligible to apply for a Green Card. H1B visa holders can bring their spouse and children along with them on an H4 visa.
H1B visa applications drop – Why has the number dropped?
The primary reason for the drop in H1B visa applications is the changing political climate and immigration rules of the USA. Ad part of the “America First’ Rhetoric, the amount of documentation required for the H1B visa has been significantly increased.
It has also been made more difficult for US-based companies to sponsor foreigners for the H1B visa. Along with the increased scrutiny, visas may also no longer be given for 3 years but may be given for shorter time periods depending on the project duration.
Another probable reason for H1B visa applications drop is the proposed change in work permits for H4 visa holders. Under the current rules, the dependents of an H1B visa holder who is on the Green Card route can apply for a work permit in the USA. This allows them to take up part-time or full-time jobs. However, the Trump administration has proposed a change to these rules by which H4 visa holders will no longer be able to apply for a work permit.
What are the implications of this drop in numbers?
The H1B visa is awarded through a lottery system. Each year only 65,000 visas are awarded to immigrants. Thus, the lower the number of applicants; the higher is an applicant’s chance of getting a visa. Keeping the number of applications received for this year in mind, the chances of getting a visa are roughly 38% for each applicant.
Applicants with advanced degrees also have a higher chance of getting a visa because even if they are not chosen in the first lottery, they get a second chance for selection. However, it is important to remember that even winning the lottery does not guarantee a visa as the applicant will still need to undergo scrutiny before their passports are stamped with a visa.