Changes impact H-1B work visa process
Employers and employees in Texas may be concerned about potential changes to the H-1B work visa program. Obtaining an H-1B visa can be an important step toward a lucrative professional career as well as the ability to obtain permanent residency. Unlike other forms of work visas, H-1B visas can be transitioned into green cards for eligible immigrants. On an annual basis, there are 85,000 of these work visas issued. While 65,000 go to people with a bachelor’s degree, 20,000 are designated for those with a master’s degree or other advanced education.
Applications are opened for H-1B visas in early April. During this time, there is usually an overflow of applicants so great that the program is oversubscribed in the first week. In 2018 alone, 200,000 petitions were received in the first week of open applications. Because of the high level of demand, the government uses a lottery system to choose successful applicants from among the candidates eligible. H-1B visa holders have become an important part of the economy; major tech corporations like Microsoft, Intel and Google hire many H-1B workers. These companies warn that a cutback in work visas could lead to increased competition from foreign companies.
However, the Trump administration has made it more difficult to receive H1-B visa approval. According to reports, an increasing number of applicants are being denied work visas or issued requests for further evidence. The companies employing the applicants say that these policies have cost them millions of dollars in penalties and delays.
Other new procedures may have more positive effects, like a preference for graduates of U.S. colleges and universities. Employers looking to secure H-1B visas for their employees can work with an immigration lawyer to navigate the system and present successful applications.