F-1 Visas and their Transition to H-1B Visas

F-1 Visas and their Transition to H-1B Visas

Students from all around the world dream about getting F-1 Visas for studying in the United States because there are excellent academic programs offered, resourceful libraries and career-minded learning opportunities. According to studies carried out in 2016, the number of international students that attended universities and colleges in the United States rose to 1.2 million. Majority of the students come from the Middle East Countries such as; India, Korea, Pakistan and many more.

Indian students coming to US

The number of Indian students studying in the universities of US is very high. The reason for the high percentage of Indian Students in the United States is that the visa policies in the UK have become harsh. This makes many students choose US over UK. At present, there are 1.6 million STEM students are allowed to stay in the US for three more years after they graduate for their training and job search. The most common visa’s the students receive is the F-1. The F-1 visas are for full-time students in high schools, universities, and colleges of the United States or are enrolled in the language training programs. Many Indian students are studying in the US on F-1 visas dues to its packages. The offers are; financial support from any source is acceptable, for working on-campus the student does not require a work permit, permission for Curricular Practical Training granted to students during their programs for internships or job, for a period of 12 months the student is permitted to work for Post-Degree Optional Practical Training employment. And for the STEM students, the OPT extension for an additional 24 months is possible.

Transition from F-1 Visas to H-1B Visas

According to studies, the number of Indian students interested in STEM fields is increasing gradually. Unfortunately, with an F-1 visa, a student cannot stay in the United States after the 12 months permitted by OPT or 24 months permitted through the STEM extension. This is where the H-1b visas come in. If some employers wish to employ international workers for a long term in their company, they can help their employees with the H-1b visas.

The transition to H-1b is as follows; a person holding a J-1 visa has to make the change to F-1 visa and then the person will be eligible for an H-1b visa. A student who holds the J-1 visa is allowed to change J-1 status to F-1 status, only if he/she wants to pursue studies as a full-time academic student.

What is an America First H-1B Visa?

What is an America First H-1B Visa?

“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.H-1B Data

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.

Start H-1B Application Now

Harvard Business Review on Hiring Overseas Data Scientists

Harvard Business Review on Hiring Overseas Data Scientists

High tech talent is in such high demand that the Harvard Business Review has published an article on how to hire data scientists from outside of the United States.

The H-1B visa that we concentrate on is profiled.  The article explains the lottery system, average filling fees, legal fees, and the recent scrutiny among certain applications.  Back in the day (the day being before 2010), any foreign national with at least a Bachelor’s Degree was considered sufficiently specialized to qualify for the H-1B application.

As the Harvard Business Review article pointed out, the H-1B visa is limited only to “specialty occupations.”  This means that the H-1B is the most exclusive work visa as its recipients are highly educated and skilled.  Today, the USCIS routinely allows people with bachelors in IT, engineering, accounting or the sciences to be considered “specialty occupations.”

Be warned that majors in business, marketing, public relations and the artistic fields receive far heavier scrutiny from the government when considering the “specialty occupation” status.  So if you’re still an OPT student on an F-1 Visa, do yourself a favor and pick up a second major.  Math, Computer Science, any science, or accounting, will help you in the future to be considered a “specialty occupation.”

The real shenanigans with the H-1B system does not merely have to do with the annual lottery that places the odds of getting the visa at approximately 33%, certain countries actually get quotas!  The H-1B1 visa allows 6,800 people from Singapore and Chile to get the H-1B visa.  This quota has never been reached!  The H-1B1 visa is a subset of the H-1B set, meaning that the 6,800 arise out of the whole 65,000 H-1B visa openings each year.

Of course, this math omits the 20,000 H-1Bs set aside for people with master’s degrees or greater.  So if you miss the H-1B visa, consider going back for your master’s.  In fact more than half of all computer science doctorates, and all other STEMs doctorates, earned in the United States are awarded to people from another country.  Thus, they are not only smart, but also more able to stay and work in the United States.