H-1B demand may be retreating as feds increase scrutiny
A small decline from May in the number of H-1B petitions gives rise to theories on cause
Computerworld - WASHINGTON - For what may by the first time, the number of H-1B petitions withdrawn by applicants or rejected by U.S. authorities is exceeding the number of new petitions for the visas.
The numbers have resulted in a slight decrease over the past two months in the H-1B visa petition count on the scale of a rounding error. The drop may be little more than a short-term phenomenon, but it is inviting theories as to its cause, ranging from increased U.S. scrutiny of the H-1B petitions to the general economy.
The U.S. has received approximately 44,900 visa petitions toward its 65,000 H-1B visa cap, one of two caps, since it began accepting petitions on April 1. But the number of visa petitions reported in mid-May by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) was 45,500 visas. There has been a net decline of 600 visa petitions from May to June.
A USCIS spokesman, in an e-mail, said the reason for the decline is that the number of denials, withdrawals of applications and revocations are "quite simply" exceeding the number of new filings. The U.S. has a second H-1B cap of 20,000 set aside for graduates from U.S. universities with advanced degrees. In raw numbers, that cap number has been reached.
In sum, the U.S. has received 65,000 H-1B petitions since April 1 for 85,000 available visas for the fiscal that begins Oct. 1. The combined cap may well be reached in the months ahead, but for now, demand has flatlined.
In the past year, the USCIS has increased the requirement for a wide range of documents to support visa applications to the point that the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) says the requirement is "bordering on harassment."
The small H-1B decline reported by the USCIS may well be nothing more than a counting error, but Vic Goel, an immigration attorney in Reston Va., said it has more to do with cases being denied or withdrawn.
Goel said he has had clients withdraw pending H-1B cases because they couldn't get the large amount of material sought by authorities in time to meet government deadlines, or because the USCIS was seeking new documentation. In the later instance, USCIS officials have asked IT consulting firms to obtain letters from clients with detailed descriptions of the duties performed by H-1B workers, their salaries, hours, benefits, and the length of the assignment, among other things, which has not been a normal business practice, he said.
"Not many companies are going to give such a letter to a vendor without serious reservations, which could jeopardize the business relationship," Goel said.
- Move Mission-Critical Apps to the Cloud with AWS and F5 Read this paper to learn about adoption inhibitors of the cloud, potential solutions, and how advanced Application Delivery Controller (ADC) technologies are critical...
- Pivotal Melds Big Data and Platform-as-a-service The value of Information has increased, so has the business's thirst for more information. Access to data and collaboration are at the heart...
- Operationalizing the Buzz: Big Data 2013 The 2013 EMA/9sight Big Data research surveyed 259 business and technology stakeholders around the world.
- The Pivotal Big Data Suite- Reducing the Risks of Big Data The explosion of big data and the rapid evolution of big data tools and technologies is challenging IT to meet the demands of...
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All IT Outsourcing White Papers | Webcasts