MUMBAI: The US has approved a higher number of H-1B applications (both for initial visas and visa extensions for continued employment) this year, showing that the demand for these work visas continues unabated. This is a relief to Indians, who are the dominant holders of H-1B visas, especially after processing regulations got more stringent post-2015 .
While in 2015, 2.88 lakh applications were approved (95.7%) by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) , for fiscal 2019, the figure touched 3.89 lakh (84.8%), up from last year's 3.35 lakh (84.5%).
Statistics - Period - September - USCIS
The latest statistics for the fiscal 2019 (the 12-month period ended September 30) were recently released by USCIS.
Country-wise data has not been released for fiscal years 2019 and 2018, but in past years, a significant portion (more than 70%) of the aggregate H-1B visa applications for new jobs and visa extensions has been given to those born in India. Local hiring in USA may have resulted only in a slight drop in this figure, say immigration experts.
Job - Minimum - Bachelor - Degree - Equivalent
"It used to be that if the job required a minimum of a bachelor's degree (or foreign equivalent) and the beneficiary (whose H-1B visa was being sponsored by the employer) possessed this qualification, the H-1B application was likely to be approved. Not anymore, as is reflected in the spate of requests for evidence (RFEs) and lower approvals post an RFE," says Snehal Batra, managing attorney, NPZ Law Group.
USCIS data for fiscal 2019 shows that the agency continued extreme scrutiny of H-1B applications. RFEs were sought in 40.2% of cases from sponsoring employers to justify the visa applications. This is up by 2...
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