H-1B visas allow employers in the United States to hire skilled workers from foreign countries. H-1B visas help companies fill skilled positions with foreign workers, but not all skilled workers are accepted. According to a recent CNBC news report, applications for H-1B visas have increased dramatically in recent years and they are expected to keep growing. There were at least 160,000 applications for H-1B visas in 2013 despite there being only 65,000 cap and 20,000 cap exempt visas available. Our office will be submitting all of our H-1B applications on April 1 for fear that anyone applying on April 2 will find there are no H-1B visas left.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there were 134,000 petitions in 2012 and 124,000 in 2013. H-1B visas only go to workers with specialty skills. So, many speculate that the large number of applications this year reflects a lack of computer science and math graduates in the United States. Companies such as Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM, Deloitte Consulting, and Microsoft are reaching out to skilled foreign workers to fill important positions.
Since there are a limited amount of H-1B visas available, many applicants will not get an opportunity to work in the United States. Applicants with a master’s degree will have an opportunity to be one of the first 20,000 accepted into the visa program. Those with master’s degrees who are not selected through the first lottery will fall into the main lottery for the remaining 65,000 spots.
Many are calling for an increase in the number of H-1B visas that are made available each year. CNBC reports that many companies within high-tech industries want to raise the quota or remove it completely. It is not, however, clear if officials will increase the number of possible H-1B visas.
It is advisable for foreign workers and for interested Los Angeles companies to speak with a Los Angeles immigration attorney before and during the application process. With such a competitive process for a limited number of visas, any mistakes made during the application process can affect whether or not the application is approved. An immigration attorney can help review the application and provide guidance throughout the proceedings.