March 29, 2009

H-1B Visas by the Numbers

According to a new report by the National Foundation for American Policy, not even the slumping economy is likely to prevent the H-1B visa quota for skilled foreign-born professionals from being exhausted before the start of the new fiscal year.

The report, “H-1B Visas By The Numbers“, states that the demand built up by the inability of employers to hire skilled professionals on new H-1B visas for over the past year and the low quota on H-1Bs relative to the size of the U.S. labor force will contribute to employers likely reaching the annual cap of 65,000 and 20,000 exemption for recipients of a graduate degree from a U.S. university.

Among the finding in the report:

  • Although important for the competitiveness of many U.S. companies, new H-1B visa holders each year represent only 0.07 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force, a tiny proportion of the U.S. workforce, making unsupportable claims that such individuals are “destroying” large numbers of U.S. jobs.
  • Despite the press attention paid to India-based companies utilizing H-1B visas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data show the use of H-1Bs by Indian companies declined by 27 percent from 2006 to 2008.
  • While well-known U.S. technology companies are most often in the news related to H-1B visas, a large variety of businesses and organizations in America, including public school systems, hire H-1B professionals every year. In FY 2008, 24,692 different employers hired at least one individual on a new H-1B petition. Many companies hire only one or two H-1Bs. In FY 2008, more than 16,130 employers hired one person on a new H-1B petition.

For more information, read the full report at the National Foundation for American Policy website.

AILA Doc. No. 09032570 (March 24, 2009)