The Data Behind America’s H-1B Visa Program
H-1B Visa Origins
The H-1B Visa is an immigration program that brings highly skilled workers into America when a shortage of those skills exists in the domestic labor market. The program came to life as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, under the George H.W. Bush administration. Although the program was temporarily suspended for 10 months under the Trump administration, this stoppage has since been lifted by Biden.
Though regulations permit specialized knowledge workers from various fields, it is primarily tech jobs that crowd these occupations. For instance, software developers and computer systems engineers/architects collectively cover almost 50% of all roles.
The H-1B visa is highly competitive. In fiscal 2021, program applications hit 275,000, a 15-year high. The program follows a lottery system where 85,000 applicants are selected at random. Today, that means a given applicant has about a 30% chance of getting in.
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Although the system is a lottery, the first 20,000 spots are reserved for those with a master’s degree or higher, so those holding a higher education tend to have improved odds.
Roughly two-thirds of applicants come from India. The large Indian presence exists in the sponsor companies list (Read more...)