h-1b

Changes in H-1B Visa Application Process: A Comprehensive Analysis

March 7, 2024 | xpath.global

The H-1B visa has long been a cornerstone of the U.S. immigration system, attracting highly skilled foreign nationals to contribute to the economy. However, recent changes in the application process could significantly reduce registrations for this coveted visa.

 

The H-1B Visa Explained

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Tech companies heavily rely on the H-1B visa to hire thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

The Past and Present of H-1B Registrations

In the past, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received a significant number of H-1B applications. For instance, in the previous year, USCIS received 758,994 applications, a testament to the visa’s popularity among foreign professionals and U.S. employers alike.

However, the forecast for Fiscal Year 2025 predicts a stark drop in these numbers. USCIS is expecting to receive around 350,000 applications, less than half of last year’s applications. This drastic decrease in the registrations can be attributed to the recent changes USCIS made in the registration process.

The New Registration Process

The registration period for the H-1B visa now opens on March 6 and closes on March 22. As part of the changes, USCIS will now choose based on the individual, rather than the number of times their employer registers them. This means that even if multiple employers register the same person, they will only be entered into the lottery once.

This change was implemented to prevent fraud, as the previous system saw a significant number of duplicate applications. In fact, out of the 758,994 applications received last year, 408,891 applications were duplicates.

The Implications for Employers

While the new process aims to ensure fairness, it also presents challenges for employers. In the past, an employer could increase their chances of successful applications by registering the same individual multiple times. With the new system, this strategy is no longer effective.

Moreover, the chosen individual might prefer to work for another employer, causing the original employer to lose out even after a successful registration.

Rising Visa Petition Fees

Adding to the complexities, the fees for visa petitions are set to increase from April 1. Employers hiring high-skilled foreign nationals will face a fee increase for various visa petitions this year. The H-1B visa petitions fee will rise by 70%, L-1 petitions will see a 201% increase, and individuals on O-1 petitions will see a 129% increase.

Conclusion

The recent changes in the H-1B visa application process signify a shift in the U.S. immigration landscape. While these changes aim to prevent fraud and ensure fairness, they also bring new challenges for employers and potential applicants. As the registration period opens, all eyes will be on how these changes impact the H-1B visa applications and the U.S. economy at large.

 

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