Nearshore Americas
H-1B Visa

U.S. Receives Record Number of Petitions for H-1B Visas

The United States received a staggering 236,000 petitions for H-1B visa in a space of just five days, although the country can issue only 85,000 visas this year.
The report comes at a time when the concept of offshoring jobs has become a political hot potato in the current presidential election campaign, with presidential hopeful Donald Trump accusing India and China of stealing American jobs.
U.S. companies, particularly in technology, say they need the visas to fill vacant positions. But some worker-advocacy groups counter that the companies are using the visa program to hire cheaper foreign labor.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that oversees the H1-B program, said it had completed the computer-generated lottery selection for the visas. Out of the total 85,000 visas available, 20,000 are allocated to foreign workers with advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
The H-1B visa, popular among Indian techies, is used by U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.
According to the Wall Street Journal, demand for the visas has been rising since the economic recovery began several years ago. “Last year, there were 233,000 applications,” reported the paper. “In 2014 there were 172,500 H1-B visa applications.”
The increase in the number of visa petitions signals that companies feel confident enough about the economy to hire more foreign workers. But some U.S. groups doubt this argument and are of the belief that U.S. companies hire foreign professionals to cut costs.
Donald Trump, likely to win Republication nomination to run for president, has proposed to raise the minimum wage for H-1B visa holders to dissuade American firms from hiring them.

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Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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