By Vishal Ghadia
Two-thirds of all H-1B applicants since 2007 have been Indians; why is the visa program continuing to attract Indians?
Beginning April 1, this year, the USCIS began accepting applications for H-1B visas for fiscal year 2020. By April 5, USCIS was able to receive enough applications for regular cap quota hence resorting to a lottery to select the petitions. While there were no changes to the visa cap this year, the USCIS received 201,011 applications, an upward tick by 5% if compared to last year. This remains interesting as an increased visa scrutiny and a higher number of denials, particularly in the past couple of years has led to a feeling of dejection towards H-1B – once a respected, coveted, path to the American dream.
For years, Indians have remained the biggest beneficiaries of H-1B with China coming a distant second. Two-thirds of all H-1B applicants since 2007 have been Indians. So, what is it about this temporary work visa that continues to attract Indians?
There are three major reasons why H-1B visa continues to attract Indians.
US still remains the largest draw for Indian students
The United States continues to be the largest draw for Indian students. Students know that if they are looking to make a career after college, the US is the best option. But if they just want to get out of India to get permanent residency of another country, any other country will work. Open Doors report shows that that close to 200,000 students come to the US from India every year. Most of these students are in STEM fields and get 3-year work permits. Within those three years, these students need to secure H-1B visa to continue working. Which leads to applications every year from these students and also from students who did not get selected.
Promising us job market
The job market in the US has been on a roll since last many years. If one looks at the top 10 H-1B applying companies, more than 50% are outsourcing companies that get tech employees from India and elsewhere. Although decline rates and Request for Evidence have increased for these companies they continue to file for H-1Bs in large numbers for their Indian employees.
The Indian community in the US also holds the majority of H4 EADs in the country. With the administration inching towards revoking H4 EAD program, the community has already taken for granted that H4 EAD may no longer be available in the future. To secure their job status many on H4 EAD are attempting to convert their visas to H1B instead which has also led to an additional demand.
(Vishal Ghadia is a Paralegal and works with immigration attorneys through his Legal Process outsourcing (LPO) company (ImmigrationParalegals.us) He is a US citizen residing in the state of Florida for past 19 years.)