H-1B Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2019

April 7th, 2018

USCIS announced that as of April 6, 2018, the H-1B cap has been reached for fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) with a start date of October 1, 2018. It will now conduct a computerized lottery to determine which H-1B petitions will be allocated one of the 85,000 bachelor’s degree cap visa numbers and one of the additional 20,000 US master’s degree cap visa numbers.  This process of notifying petitioners has taken an average of four to six weeks in the past several years.

It should be emphasized that even if an H-1B petition is assigned one of these numbers, USCIS must still approve the petition before the beneficiary can start as early as October 1, 2018. If the petition is not approved by October 1, 2018, then the beneficiary cannot start working in H-1B status until it is approved.  With the suspension of premium processing for H-1B cap cases this year, anticipated to be available again by September 2018, many petitions may not receive an approval by October 1, 2018.  Premium processing requires USCIS to make a decision or request evidence within 15 calendar days of receipt of the petition (or the Form I-907 to request a conversion from traditional to premium processing).  If additional evidence is requested, then USCIS has 15 calendar days to make a decision after the petitioner’s response to the request is received by USCIS.

Last year, with the enhanced scrutiny by USCIS of H-1B petitions, there was a record number of requests for evidence (RFEs). USCIS challenged core requirements of the petition in an unprecedented manner, some of these challenges unreasonable and successfully overcome by my office.  For example, USCIS started questioning whether a position with a level one prevailing wage noted on the Form EA 9035 Labor Condition Application (LCA) could be considered a specialty occupation for H-1B purposes, requiring specialized knowledge that only a bachelor’s degree would normally provide.  My office showed that the level of a position is not relevant or controlling, but the nature of the knowledge required to reasonably perform the job duties is the critical question.  The level of a position simply reflects the worker’s position in the employer’s hierarchy.  USCIS was conflating the level within a particular occupation with the overall skill involved in every level of the occupation itself.  Also, the four levels of prevailing wages relates to the requirement that employers pay the appropriate prevailing wage to its H-1B employees and is wholly divorced from the determination of whether a position is a specialty occupation for H-1B purposes.

Most importantly, the regulations at 8 CFR §214.2(h)(4)(ii) and (iii) and the statute at INA §101(a)(32) are the binding authorities on the definition of a specialty occupation for H-1B purposes.

The regulation at 8 CFR §214.2(h)(4)(ii) provides the controlling definition for a specialty occupation:

Specialty occupation means an occupation which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in fields of human endeavor including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts, and which requires the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

The regulation at §214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A)(1)-(4) further defines a specialty occupation is one satisfying one of the four requirements listed below:

  • A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position;

 

  • The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, an employer may show that its particular position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;

 

  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or

 

  • The nature of the specific duties are [sic] so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the

Also, a position is considered professional if listed in INA Section 101(a)32).

Although my office and H-1B petitioners across the country last year successfully challenged these level 1 RFEs, it is anticipated that USCIS will continue to question the professional nature of a position with a level wage in the LCA. However, we are more prepared than ever to demonstrate the speciousness of such hurdles.

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for H-1B Cap Petitions

March 21st, 2018

USCIS announced that as of April 2, 2018, it will temporarily suspend premium processing only for H-1B cap petitions for fiscal year 2019 (with a start date of October 1, 2018). Such suspension will include petitions filed under the US master’s degree or higher cap.  USCIS anticipates that this suspension will last until September 10, 2018. It should be emphasized that USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B petitions not subject to the FY 2019 cap.

USCIS has warned that if the petitioner submits a Form I-907 along with one filing fee check that combines the fees for the Form I-907 and the I-129 H-1B petition that it will reject both forms. It also notes that when it resumes premium processing, petitioners may file to request it for the remaining H-1B cap subject petitions.

Although premium processing has been suspended, USCIS will still consider requests to expedite an H-1B petition so long as it satisfies the expedite criteria noted on USCIS’s website. Petitioners must fulfill at least one of the criteria and USCIS encourages petitioners to submit documentation in support of its request.  USCIS decides expedite requests on a case-by case basis.

Key Ways to Make the H-1B Petition Stronger in This More Challenging Climate

February 8th, 2018

During last year’s H-1B cap, USCIS applied a rigorous level of scrutiny to H-1B petitions that led to a record number of requests for evidence (RFE) and most likely denials, as the numbers are almost sure to evince.  Many of the challenges that USCIS posed bordered on the ridiculous, such as stating that a position with a level 1, entry-level, prevailing wage on the Labor Condition Application (LCA) did not rise to the level of an H-1B specialty occupation requiring at least a bachelor’s degree.

Here are some of my tips in circumventing an RFE or denial and making an H-1B case as strong as possible:

  1.  Provide a comprehensive discussion of how level 1 positions still require specialized knowledge that only a bachelor’s degree provides, including a reference to regulations, statutes, the industry standards for professionals and details of the petitioner’s particular position and how its job duties are so advanced that only those with specialized knowledge could reasonably perform them;
  2. Provide a chart that includes the job duties, specialized knowledge required to perform them and the coursework completed by the beneficiary providing such specialized knowledge.
  3. Submit copious documentation of the company’s track record of hiring other employees in similar positions who have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field;
  4. Enclose online job ads for companies in similar industries for parallel positions and make sure that the nature of the companies is as close as possible to that of the petitioner; and
  5. Include an expert opinion that refers to the details of the position and of the nature of the company.

Unfortunately, even if the H-1B petition contains such prodigious and credible information and documentation, there is a good likelihood that the petitioner will receive an RFE from USCIS.  The petitioner should respond by emphasizing the original documentation and information and offering some new evidence.

Summary of Immigration Innovation Act of 2018, or I-Squared

January 29th, 2018

On January 25, 2018, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced S. 2344, the Immigration Innovation Act of 2018, or I-Squared. It will increase H-1B statutory cap, provide for employment authorization for H-4 spouses and children, ease H-1B worker mobility, allow for greater immigrant visa number availability (thereby shortening the green card process for many), provide for greater mobility during the green card process, create conditional legal permanent residency for certain high-skilled workers and grant dual intent for F-1 students so that they may travel abroad while the green card process is pending.

The following is a summary of key points of S.2344.

H-1B Visas

  • Increases H-1B visa numbers
    • Raises H-1B visa numbers (cap) from 65,000 to 85,000;
    • Creates a market-based escalator up to 195,000;
    • Provides that individuals who earn a US master’s degree or higher (regardless of the field) are exempt from the cap if the green card process is initiated within one year of beginning H-1B status (employee would obtain a one-year approval initially and then move to three-year increments);
    • Provides an additional 20,000 visa numbers for individuals who earn a US master’s degree or higher and who are not exempt based on the initiation of the green card process within one year;
    • Allows for additional H-1B numbers within any fiscal year, up to 195,000, as follows:
      • Cap met by May 15 – 30,000 added, available 10/1;
      • Cap met by September 30 – 20,000 added, available 10/2;
      • Cap met by November 29 – 10,000 added, available 12/1; and
      • Cap met by January 28 – 5,000 added, available 2/1.
  • Prioritization of H-1B cap petitions
    • If the H-1B cap is met within the first five business days of April 1st, the cap subject petitions will be selected as follows:
      • Beneficiaries with a US master’s or higher who are not counted against the 20,000 master’s pool (and not being sponsored for a green card within the first year of H-1B status);
      • Beneficiaries with a foreign doctorate that is equivalent to a US doctorate;
      • Beneficiaries with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field; and
      • Remaining cap-subject petitions.
  • Raises H-1B filing fees
    • Raises the current ACWIA fee from $1,500 to $4,000 for companies with 25 or more employees;
    • Raises the $750 ACWIA fee to $2,000 for companies with fewer than 25 employees; and
    • Increases H-1B fees up to $8,000 depending on the size of the employer, extent to which the H-1B cap increases and when, if at all.
  • Grace period:  Creates a 60-day grace period for H-1B workers whose employment terminated so that they may change H-1B employers (already available in the regulations).
  • Deference for extensions:  Requires deference for H-1B extension petitions if there is no material change in eligibility or there was no substantial error in the prior approval.
  • Employment authorization for H-4 spouses:  Authorizes H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holders to obtain employment authorization if the H-1B spouse has a pending or approved/certified PERM labor certification application or I-140 immigrant visa petition.  The employer must pay the higher of the actual or prevailing wage.
  • Visa Revalidation in the US:  Allows certain foreign workers to revalidate their work visas in the US
  • Prohibition on replacing US workers:  Prohibits hiring an H-1B worker with the purpose and intent to replace an American worker.
  • Prohibition on training of H-1B replacements: Prohibits conditioning an employee’s pay or severance on training an H-1B replacement.
  • Raises the level one prevailing wage requirement:  The level one (entry level) wage requirement shall not be less than the mean of the lowest 50 percent of the wages surveyed.
  • Change in worksite location:  Allows for a change in job location without a new H-1B petition where:  (1) the petitioning employer is involved in a corporate restructuring (including a merger, a acquisition or consolidation); a new corporate entity succeeds to the interest and obligations of the original H-1B employer and the terms and conditions remain the same except for the identity of the petitioner; or the employer has a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA, ETA 9035) for the new work location before the nonimmigrant began working at such place of employment.
  • Exemptions for H-1B dependent employers:
    • When calculating whether an employer is H-1B dependent, and thereby subject to the additional recruitment and non-displacement requirements, the following are excluded:
      • Individuals who earn a US master’s degree or higher (regardless of the field) are exempt from the cap if the green card process is initiated within one year of beginning H-1B status (employee would obtain a one-year approval initially and then move to three-year increments);
      • 20,000 visa numbers for individuals who earn a US master’s degree or higher and who are not exempt based on the initiation of the green card process within one year;
      • H-1Bs and L-1Bs who are in the green card process are excluded from the calculation.  The employer must file Form I-140 immigrant visa petition for at least 90 percent of the workers who are the beneficiaries of certified PERM labor certification application cases; and
      • Those being offered an annual wage that is higher than either 105 percent of the mean wage or $100,000, or who have earned a PhD;
    • Eliminates H-1B dependent exemption for a company that has more than 50 employees with more than 50 percent in H-1B status.
  • Penalties for short duration of H-1B employment and withdrawals:
    • Imposes penalties on employers that obtain more than five H-1B cap-subject petition approvals where the H-1B worker does not spend at least 25 percent of his or her time in the US, unless the employer withdraws the petition because of unexpected circumstances; the employee enters the US in another visa status; or the alien worker quits or resigns.
    •  The employer must pay a fine if it obtained between 20 and 49 H-1B cap petition approvals, withdraws more than 25 percent of these petitions or withdraws more than 10 percent of such petitions because the foreign worker resigned before completing three months of employment.
    • The employer must pay a fine if it obtains more than 50 H-1B cap petition approvals, withdraws more than 20 percent of these petitions or withdraws more than five percent of such petitions because the foreign worker resigned before completing three months of employment.
    • The penalty for violating the above rules is $10,000 for each petition in the first fiscal year and $25,000 for each such petition after the first year of noncompliance.
    • If the employer violates this provision in three consecutive years then it is barred from filing H-1B petitions in the fourth year.
  • Reporting requirements: Each employer that has five or more approved H-1B cap petitions must submit an annual report to the DHS that notes the date on which each H-B worker approved during the most recent fiscal year started working for the employer in the US and the total period of employment for such worker during the first year.

Increased Portability for Applicants to Adjust Status (I-485)

  • Allows the beneficiary of a certified PERM labor certification application or approved Form I-140 immigrant to change jobs (including with a different employer) in the same or similar occupation of the original PERM or I-140 immigrant visa petition without losing his or her place in line for the green card (no 180-day wait as under current I-485 portability); and Allows the beneficiary of a certified PERM labor certification application or approved Form I-140 immigrant to change jobs (including with a different employer) in the same or similar occupation of the original PERM or I-140 immigrant visa petition without losing his or her place in line for the green card (no 180-day wait as under current I-485 portability); and
  • Allows a  foreign worker to file to adjust status to legal permanent residency (I-485) status regardless of whether an immigrant visa number is available ($500 fee).

Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Availability

  • Eliminates from the numerical limitation on employment-based visas:
    • The spouse and children of any employment-based immigration;The spouse and children of any employment-based immigration;
    • Aliens who have earned a master’s or higher degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field;
    • Aliens who have an approved EB-1A immigrant visa petition (Extraordinary Ability EB-1A, Outstanding Researcher and Professor (EB-1B);
  • Eliminates per country quotas; and   Eliminates per country quotas; and
  • Recaptures unused immigrant visas from the prior year.

Employment-Based Conditional Legal Permanent Residency

  • Allows for up to 35,000 visas per year;Allows for up to 35,000 visas per year;
  • The alien must have earned a university degree and received an offer of employment from a US employer that has complied with all of the requirements of the I-140 immigrant visa petition;
  • The alien must receive an annual wage of at least $100,000 (including cash bonuses), which may be adjusted per the Consumer Price Index;
  • The alien may legal permanent residency in the US and not seek an immigrant visa abroad;
  • The employer must file a petition with USCIS attesting that the alien will not be paid less than similarly situated US workers, no US worker has been or will be displaced by the alien, the employer has completed at least three types of recruitment for a position requiring at least a bachelor’s degree and the employer is enrolled in E-Verify;
  • The employer may not be an H-1B dependent employer or debarred from any immigration program;
  • Requires an annual review of conditional permanent residents that mandates from the alien evidence of: (1) ongoing employment in the occupation the alien was originally granted a conditional employment-based visa; (2) payment of taxes; (3) at the first annual review, evidence of PERM labor certification application (or I-140 immigrant visa petition filed; at the second annual review evidence of a filed I-140 immigrant visa petition, unless the PERM labor certification application prevents it; (4) at the third and subsequent annual reviews, an approval of an I-140 immigrant visa petition;
  • An alien receiving conditional permanent resident status may change employers without affecting his or her status if the new employer complies with the immigrant visa petition rules.
  • Fees: $10,000 if the new employer hires the alien during the one-year period beginning on the date on which the alien obtains conditional permanent resident status; $5,000 if the new employer hires the alien during the one-year period beginning at the end of the first year of conditional residency status; $2,500 if the new employer hires the alien during the one-year period beginning at the end of the subsequent year; and $0 if the new employer hires the alien after the end of the subsequent year.
  • Termination of conditional permanent residency: Conditional permanent residency terminates if the alien fails to submit evidence at each annual review, has been unemployed or not employment in the requisite occupation for a cumulative total of 180 days while holding conditional residency, or does not seek the removal of conditions within one year of an immigrant visa number becoming available; or the employer fails to comply with the immigrant visa requirements.
  • Removal of conditions: Conditions may be removed on or after the date on which an immigrant visa numbers would be available.

F-1 Students and Dual Intent

  • Permits “dual intent,” which allows a nonimmigrant to have immigrant intent, for F-1 foreign students in Optional Practical Training (OPT) status so that the F-1 student may travel in and out of the US while a green card process (immigrant visa process) is pending.

Please contact my office with any questions about your H-1B or green card case.

New Legislation on H-1Bs and Green Cards: Immigration Innovation Act of 2018, or I-Squared

January 28th, 2018

On January 25, 2018, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced S. 2344, the Immigration Innovation Act of 2018, or I-Squared. It will increase H-1B statutory cap, provide for employment authorization for H-4 spouses and children, ease H-1B worker mobility, allow for greater immigrant visa number availability (thereby shortening the green card process for many), provide for greater mobility during the green card process, create conditional legal permanent residency for certain high-skilled workers and grant dual intent for F-1 students so that they may travel abroad while the green card process is pending.

It should be emphasized that this legislation must still be passed in the Senate and then in the House of Representatives and signed by the President. Even if passed, it could look very different.

My office will be publishing a summary shortly. Please contact my office for specific questions about the legislation.

H-1B Visas and the Level 1 LCA

January 16th, 2018

In an unprecedented move, in 2017 USCIS issued requests for evidence (RFEs) that challenged the professional nature of an H-1B petition’s position if it were based on a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with a level 1 prevailing wage. My office filed responses to these RFEs with copious and compelling arguments for why a level 1, entry level, position is still a specialty occupation for H-1B purposes.

Some employers may be inclined to raise the prevailing wage to a level 2 to avoid such a challenge. However, this is risky, since an employer must base its designation on the actual requirements of the position and can be penalized for failing to provide accurate information. A prevailing wage assessment includes the level of education, experience requirements and whether there are any supervisory duties and special skills.

The employer may file an H-1B petition based on an LCA with a prevailing wage assignation that is based on an actual determination from the Department of Labor. Under the Safe Harbor rule, if the case is audited, the DOL may not challenge the prevailing wage determination. Most employers do not obtain a prevailing wage determination though and instead prepare themselves to justify the level they chose if audited.

USCIS Reverses Course on H-1B Extensions Beyond Six Years

January 10th, 2018

On Monday, January 8, 2018, USCIS reversed itself on its stance regarding H-1B extensions. Over New Year’s weekend, USCIS stated that it was considering terminating certain H-1B extensions for longer than six years. However, on Monday its chief of media relations announced:

“What we can say, however, is that USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6 year limit,” the agency told McClatchy. “Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.” ”

This is very welcome news, since the termination of the H-1B extensions beyond six years would have wreaked havoc on the US’s economy and harmed the careers and lives of hundreds of thousands of H-1B foreign workers and their families.

Department of Homeland Security Reportedly Considering Changes to H-1B Extensions Beyond Six Years

January 7th, 2018

Thousands of H-1B workers, including upwards of 500,000 H-1B workers from India, may be unable to continue working indefinitely in the US, and may need to wait abroad for years, if a proposal by the Trump administration not to extend H-1B visa status beyond the six-year limit for those waiting for permanent residency (green card) is implemented.
It is reported that the Department of Homeland Security is considering new regulations that would prohibit H-1B certain extensions beyond the statutory six-year maximum as part of President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative.

Under 8 CFR §214.2(h)(13)(iii), foreign nationals are allowed six years of H-1B status with each petition requesting up to three years at a time. However, under two provisions of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), indefinite extensions are allowed for foreign nationals who are the beneficiaries of a pending legal permanent residency (“green card”) process. According to PL 106-313, §106(a), AC21, H-1B status shall be extended in one-year increments indefinitely beyond the six-year limitation if a labor certification or Form I-140 immigration visa petition was filed at least 365 days prior to the expiration of H-1B status. According to §104(c) of this Act (and a USCIS policy memo by Yates, Assoc. Dir. Operations, USCIS), H-1B status may grant an extension in three-year increments indefinitely beyond the six-year limitation for beneficiaries of approved EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 Form I-140 immigrant visa petitions who are unable to file to adjust status to legal permanent residency or acquire an immigrant visa abroad because of per country limitations (immigrant visa number backlogs).

Because there is an extremely long wait for certain green card applicants, particularly for foreign nationals who were born in India, hundreds of thousands of these foreign workers from these countries may wait an average of 10 to 12 years to obtain legal permanent residency. There are 400,000 immigrant visa numbers available each year for a foreign national to obtain legal permanent residency based on employment and these visas are allocated evenly among all nations. This inevitable results in a backlog for nationals of high demand countries such as India. Currently, the US Department of State Visa Bulletin shows that the priority date, or place in line, for foreign nationals from India in the EB-2 category is November 22, 2008, and for EB-3 is November 1, 2006. Numbers do not move consistently each month and some months they may freeze or even regress. Because of the law allowing for indefinite extensions of H-1B status until their green card processing is completed, foreign nationals are allowed to remain in the US and work during this period.

DHS is considering ending the extensions of H-1B status under §104(c), by reinterpreting the “may grant” language as discretionary. However, §106(a) of AC21 provides that the six-year H-1B period “shall not apply” to H-1B workers who fall under this section and that DHS “shall extend” their H-1B status in one-year increments until a final decision has been made on their application to adjust status to legal permanent residency. The word “shall” should be read as mandatory, and therefore DHS would be compelled to grant indefinite one-year extensions under §106(a). Therefore, H-1B workers who would not qualify for the three-year indefinite extensions under §104(c) could still be eligible for indefinite one-year increments of H-1B status under §106(a).

In order for such changes to be implemented, DHS needs to follow the Administrative Procedures Act and issue a proposed regulation and follow the notice and comment rulemaking procedures. This process could take many months. Furthermore, any such proposal could be the subject of litigation, which is almost undoubtable.
Although it has becoming increasingly challenging to obtain H-1B status, including increasing fees and setting higher standards for proving a position is a specialty occupation, demand for H-1B visas remains high. US employers allege that there is a dearth of qualified US workers with at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field.

There are many compelling arguments for retaining the H-1B extension rules. Chief among them is that the H-1B foreign-born skilled worker pays US taxes, bolsters the country’s economy and fills a need for STEM workers. Many technology experts have warned that if the US excludes them, then it will only benefit their home countries, since they will simply return home and start successful new companies, such as Facebooks and Ubers, something that US technology experts state is already happening in China.

The H-1B Master’s Cap Is Not for Any US Master’s Degree

December 28th, 2017

There are 85,000 H-1B visa numbers available every year under the H-1B cap, with 20,000 set aside for H-1B petitions where the beneficiary has earned a US master’s or higher degree (INA §214(g)(5)(C); 8 CFR §214.2(h)(8)(ii)(B)). For the US master’s or higher degree to qualify, the institution conferring the degree must be an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 USC §1001(a)), which requires, inter alia, that the school be public or nonprofit and accredited. The consequences are dire if the petition is denied on this basis, since it will bar the employer from filing a new H-1B petition subject to the statutory cap until the following year.

The Higher Education Act at 20 USC § 1001(a) defines a US institution of higher education as an educational institution in any state that:

(1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate or persons who meet the requirements of section 1091(d) of this title;
(2) is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;
(3) provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree or provides not less than a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward such a degree, or awards a degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional degree program, subject to review and approval by the Secretary;
(4) is a public or other nonprofit institution; and
(5) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or if not so accredited, is an institution that has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association that has been recognized by the Secretary for the granting of preaccreditation status, and the Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or association within a reasonable time.

USCIS relies on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to assist it in making a determination on the school’s eligibility. NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing education data in the US and is part of the US Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. At its website at http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/, it provides information about whether the school is public or nonprofit and the number of years of its educational program.

If USCIS makes a determination under 8 CFR § 214.2(h)(8)(ii)(B) that the educational institution is not covered under US master’s cap for H-1B purposes, then it will not refund the filing fees in denying the case. Also, since H-1B cap petitions are filed pursuant to a lottery because of the historic demand far outstripping supply, there is no chance that an H-1B visa number would remain available so that the petitioner could refile under the bachelor’s cap for that fiscal year. Instead, the petitioner would have to wait to file in April of the following year.

USCIS Issues Report on Trends in H-1B Filings

December 27th, 2017

USCIS has issued a report of statistics on H-1B filings from FY2007 and FY2017, including the number of petitions filed and approved and the countries of birth, age, occupation, industry, annual compensation, and education. The FY2017 data is through June 30, 2017, and a large portion of the FY 2017 petitions are still pending as of the date of this report.

For the full year of 2016, it received 399,349 petitions and approved 348,162. For FY2017 USCIS has received 336,107 and approved 197,129 as of June 30th. Since 2007, the beneficiaries of these H-1B petitions have been overwhelmingly from India with 300,902 filed for Indian nationals out of the total 399,349. China comes in second in 2016 with 35,720 filed for its nationals. For 2016, 281,017 petitions were filed for computer related fields. Also, in 2016, the breakdown of the education of the beneficiaries was 180,777 for a bachelor’s degree, 180,961 for a master’s degree, 11,880 for a professional degree and 25,602 for a Ph.D.