US sees a rise in H1B visa applicants from Indian IT sector


Last year, in 2020, the US saw a huge decline in the interest shown by the technology sector, mostly due to the new visa norms set by then-president Donald Trump. Many Indian IT companies in the US had even changed their policies and ways of recruiting people to their companies.

However, in the past recent months, the demand has risen to post-COVID era level, as it shows that the US has issued more H-1B visas this year as demand for technology sector roles continues to rise.

The approval rates for the temporary work permit in the first quarter to June were 98.1%. In the first three quarters of the year, it was 97% as compared to 84% in 2018 and 2019, according to a report in Economic Times.

The approval rates for the work permit dipped during Donald Trump’s presidency as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rejected a higher number of applications and asked for additional supporting documents.

In June 2020, the USCIS revoked two policy memos related to the H-1B visa program. The documents were withdrawn following a settlement with an industry group —ITServe Alliance. One of these was the requirement for visa holders to establish a specific employer-employee relationship.

The reasons for higher H-1B approvals include a change in administration, reinstatement of a deference policy and the ITServe decision. The environment for legal immigration has improved in the past 6 months, say experts.

This memo was typically used by the immigration agency to deny visa petitions from companies that mainly work with technology firms. The agency often used this memo to reject visa petitions from firms that often deploy workers at client sites. In September, the agency said that it might conduct another draw for the upcoming fiscal year due to insufficient applications.

Around 70,000 H-1B visas are issued annually to foreign Masters students in the US. Experts are calling for an overhaul of the visa process to meet the cap.

Earlier, USCIS said it will conduct a second lottery for H-1B applicants in a rare move paving the way for a larger cohort of skilled Indian workers who did not make the cut in the first lottery. The second filing round will begin on August 2, 2021, and close on November 3, 2021.