- 18,400 fewer H1B visas awarded in the fiscal year 2018
- Approval rates continue to drop for the first half of 2019 to reach 79%
- Drop attributed to the tightening of immigration norms
For the fiscal year 2018, the approval rate of H1B visas has dropped by 10%. This has been attributed largely to the tightened immigration norms put in place by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The number of H1b visas issued dropped by 18,400 between the fiscal year 2017 and 2018. This included both new and renewable H1B visas. For the first half of the year 2019, the H1B visa approval rate continued to fall and reached a mere 79%.
|Year||Approved H1B visas||Approval Rate|
Why Has The Approval Rate Dropped?
In a bid to secure more jobs for Americans, the Trump administration has been tightening norms for the H1B visa. Additional documentation has been made necessary and it has been made more difficult for companies to hire immigrants rather than American citizens.
The Department of Homeland security along with other agencies has over the past years increased scrutiny of H1B visa applicants and has awarded the visa only to the highest paid or most skilled applicants.
In 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American executive order. This order seeks to protect the economic interests of American citizens by increasing employment rates for Americans and increasing wages.
One of the ways the order seeks to do this is by having Americans employed in jobs that would otherwise be given to immigrants.
The H1B visa is the most popular visa for immigrants. It allows immigrants to live and work in the USA in specialty occupations that require technical or theoretical expertise.
The visa is most popular among IT firms. It also makes immigrants eligible for a Green Card after a certain period of time. Some of the changes introduced over the past few years include:
- Reversal of the lottery system to favor applicants with a Master’s degree from a US institution
- Increased documentation to be submitted by the company sponsoring the applicant
- The validity duration of the H1B visa reduced
- H1B visa petitions to be filed electronically with the USCIS