“America First,” says President Donald Trump at the drop of a hat. He promised America First in any respect, including his immigration policies. Changes to the H-1B visa program have not yet been announced. Currently, companies must vie for H-1B visas by playing a lottery. Data released from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for 2015 indicate that more H-1B visa petitions were rejected than in previous years as the picture below illustrates.
What will an America First H-1B Visa Program look like?
Maybe President Trump will sign an executive order requiring that H-1B visas only be awarded to foreign nationals that earned their degree at a university in the United States. We cannot find out how many of the H-1B visas arise from education from outside of the United States.
We know that only about eight (8) companies, like InfoSys, take up 60% of the H-1B visas. How many of their sponsored applicants are educated overseas? A substantial number of the visas awarded to those Indian IT firms probably arise from foreign equivalent degrees.
According to the USCIS, the H-1B visas benefit college-educated and young citizens of the world. Almost 71 percent of approved applications are for people aged 25 to 34. About 44 percent of them went to bachelor’s degree holders, 45 percent went to master’s degree holders, and 7 percent went doctorate holders. These numbers have been steady for years.
The H-1B Visa is the Computer Science Visa!!
In 2015, a majority of the H-1B visas — 66 percent — went to people specializing in a computer-related field. Followed by architecture, then by engineering and surveying. Administrative, education and health sectors rounded out the top five H-1B occupations for the fiscal year.
Those handfuls of Indian IT firms may be bringing down the average H-1B salary because the median annual salary ranged between $75,000 and $79,000 in 2015.
India owns the H-1B Visa with 71 percent of all those awarded in 2015. China is number two with only about 10 percent. Canada, South Korea and the Philippines rounded out the top five, according to the USCIS data.
What will the Trump administration do with the H-1B Visa program? We think it will reflect his “America First” rhetoric. With that, we would not be surprised if the H-1B visas become restricted to people who earned their degree inside the United States.