Nearly All H-1B Visas Used for 2013; Tech Companies Push for Increased Availability
June 12, 2012 5:45 PM
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Large technology companies in particular like Microsoft and Autodesk are pushing Congress to up the number of H-1B visas available each year
The U.S. government announced this week that work permits in the H-1B visa program are almost entirely depleted for 2013.
According to the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), 55,600 standard H-1B visas have already been issued out of 65,000 for the next fiscal year. In addition, 18,700 H-1B visas for graduates of advanced degree programs were issued in the U.S. out of 20,000. These numbers were posted as of June 1, and USCIS started accepting applications on April 1.
This is a significant increase, considering it took until November to use up all of last year's work permits. It is believed that this is a sign of better economic times, and U.S. companies are pushing for an expansion of the H-1B program.
Large technology companies in particular like
and Autodesk are pushing Congress to up the number of H-1B visas available each year. This would allow them and other companies in the U.S. to import workers with skills in technology and finance.
According to a study from Partnership for A New American Economy, which is an industry lobby group, the U.S. will have a shortage of 224,000 tech workers by 2018 if more visas are not made available.
The 2013 fiscal year begins October 1, 2012.
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6/13/2012 1:45:04 PM
As a former H1B and now a EAD holder waiting for my GC (for eternity) these are my comments
a) This is the first discussion where vitriol was not spread or thrown and has been far civil(looking at you ZDNet). You would still get some members quote Fox news and/or Lou Dobbs ;-). For that, kudos and appreciations the current forum members. If not for this level of civility I would not pen the below (mini)rant.
b) JediJeb is right. For getting a H1B approval you have to undergo what is called a Labor Clearance which basically informs DOL that you are/will be paying the H1B holder > prevailing wage at that location by using the DOL statistics for that location. The only ways companies can cheat (which is difficult) is by classifying the work different from what you would be hired to do.
c) The US market is based on Supply and Demand right. So when the demand is high you can expect outrageous billing rates and salaries. When the demand is low or supply is high you basically hit the bottom in rates/salaries. So H1B does add to the supply market thus impacting the potential high rates
d) The original way H1B was structured was to provide mobility so that employers cannot exploit H1B workers and if so H1B worker can transfer his H1B to another company and go there. But if you are in the Labor and/or I-140 phases of your Greencard processing, you will have to start from scratch with the new company.
In the early 2000s the overall GC used to be relatively fast and hence jumping to a new company if your old company exploits you, it will affect your future GC related processes but in a far minor way compared to now
e) Once they federalized the labor clearance in 2003-2004 it is a nightmare. So I will be waiting for Labor approval and for me it took > 3yrs for it to be approved. They have now shortened it by forcing all to use PERM (6 mth turnaround). In that 3 year if I had changed companies, I would start a new labor process. So I had to patiently wait. At that time I was paid above the standard wage for my job but if not for this state, could have definitely negotiated for more.
f) When you(H1B) lose a job you will not get any Un-employment benefits. Even though H1Bs pay all taxes like regular citizens/residents but more importantly contribute to SS, Medicare, Unemployment (state wherever applicable), they cannot use any of the social safety net these things offer. Infact within 30-60 days of you being jobless, you need to go back to your country of origin. So with this Damocles sword hanging over your head your options obviously are restricted. So within that window I would have to look at another employer willing to sponsor my H1B and get the process moving in place.
g) Nowadays finding a sponsor of H1B visas is so difficult. Most of the job positions in DICE as well as other areas clearly state "Only valid for Citizens/PRs/GC". sometimes EAD holders are also allowed in this equation. They specifically mention no H1Bs. Since all large companies are targets they keep direct H1B hiring to a minimum but instead lend it out to contracting companies or big MNC consulting firms (IBM Global, Accenture, CTS, Wipro, TCS, Infy etc). Then there are big direct Vendors(DV) which are both First Level IT Contracting Companies or manage Vendor relationships.
h) So existing H1B holders either have the DV/MNCs sponsor them, which again the American ones like the first two will try to minimize unless it is a really hot-hot area, or join the Indian based MNCs in which case you can kiss the weekends good bye and need to work with off-shore wherever applicable. So the only way I would participate would be a sub-contract to the DV/MNC. So if the end-client pays billing rate of 100$/hour, when it jumps 3 hoops before reaching out to me it can easily become 40-50$ an hour.
i) Also these firms function
(competition + co-operation) may will compete at 1 client but co-operate at others have virtual tie-ups with each other so as to not hire any subcontractors between them thus restricting mobility.
And to make matters more worse there is the government agency USCIS one of which I covered in e). But if this rant went well, I would chime in more..
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