Is it the economic slowdown or the recent visa fee increase that is keeping H-1B visa applications at bay? Fiscal year 2011 is coming soon, but there is still a big chunk of visa applications available.
With less than one month
before fiscal year 2011 begins in October, there are about 30,100 available
visas for technology companies to apply for through the temporary work visa
program known widely by its specific government designation, "H-1B visa."
The H-1B program is used by technology companies, universities and others in
the United States to employ skilled foreign workers for temporary work installments
usually lasting several years.
As of Aug.
27, there were 34,900 applications for H-1B visas out of a 65,000 cap
been filed with the United States Customs and Immigrations
Services--the government agency that oversees and manages visa
cards and U.S. citizenship. For those temporary workers who are
Master's programs in U.S.
universities and colleges, there have been 13,000 applications filed
out of an
Will there be
a surge of applications over the next three weeks? That's difficult to know,
expressed USCIS spokesperson Chris Rhatigan to eWEEK during an interview, but
it is likely that there will be more applications.
In 2007 and
2008, companies applied and workers petitioned for H1-B visas in droves when
the opportunity to apply became available on April 1 of those respective years,
but the last two years have seen a slowdown in immediate application activity,
said Rhatigan. Much of the activity over the last two years has come after the
100 day mark of April 1.
however, a few key factors that could be at play.
economy is not rebounding as quick as many in the United States
had anticipated, and hiring is slow
in IT and cost controls are still in
place on labor. Secondly, a new law has gone in effect that raises the
application fees by more than $2,000 for companies that have more than 50 percent of
its workforce using H-1B visas. This new law, which was attached to a border
security measure signed by President Obama last month, has been called
discriminatory against large outsourcing companies such as Infosys, Tata
Consultancy and others in India
and elsewhere in Asia.
The law does
not affect large American companies such as Microsoft, Google and others who
utilize H-1B visa workers. In 2008, the largest Indian outsourcers--Infosys,
Wipro, Satyam and Tata Consultancy--dominated the visa count
, followed by Microsoft and other
year 2009, despite a slowdown in application activity, the visa caps of 65,000
and 20,000 for graduate degrees were met and represented .01 percent
of the total national labor force of
154 million in the United States, according to the NFAP (National Foundation for American Policy).