Vetting H-1B Visas
What entrepreneurs need to know and what they can do about the changes in vetting H-1B visas. H-1B Visas are awarded annually on a lottery basis from among a pool in excess of 200,000 applicants. The Washington Postreports that, for the first time in several years, the number of awarded H-1B Visas has fallen by27,000, according to statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And the current reduction in highly specialized imported workforce does complicate things for tech-dependent companies, such as those in Silicon Valley.
The U.S. Tech Industry’s Reliance on Immigrant IT Professionals
Fifty-seven percent of Silicon Valley STEM workers with a B.A. or higher degree are immigrants. But Silicon Valley is not the only tech-heavy area that relies on skilled immigrant IT professionals. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that computer giant IBMapplied for 12,381 H-1B visas in 2017, while Microsoftand Google applied for a combined 9,926 H-1B Visas. Between the years 2010 and 2016, nearly a third of H-1B Visas were granted to New York City area businesses.
What are Some of the New Restrictions on H-1B Visas?
An increase in vetting H-1B Visas is intended to curb abuses of the past system, as well as make sure that recipients of these visas are qualified. Therefore, a number of new restrictions have been put into place, such as:
- Companies now have to provide specific work duties, including dates of employment and workplace locations for visa holders.
- Applicants will have to supply cell phone numbers, email addresses and social media identifiers.
- Companies will have to pay employees awarded with H-1B Visas a minimum salary of $90,000(instead of the previous minimum of $60,000).
What Can Entrepreneurs Do About The Increased Vetting Of H-1B Visas?
The new rules might be frustrating for immigrants and hiring companies accustomed to previous thresholds.
- Ensure that you have a competent immigration attorney who is experienced and up to date with current policies regarding H-1B Visas.
- Work within the system, not against it. Your chances of being approved, and being able to enjoy continued employment in the U.S. rely on total compliance with the regulations.
- Obtain all necessary documentation well in advance. Requests for evidence” (RFEs), asking for more documentation and proof, were up 44% in 2017, compared to previous years. The better prepared you are for your application and subsequent acceptance, the higher your chances are for success.
If you have questions about H-1B Visas, or your rights as an immigrant, please contact Zanes Law at 866-499-8989.