More than 300,000 H1B visa petitions and extensions were received until now in 2017 by the US government, revealed data released on July 26 by USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).
For the entire year of 2016, the total number of H-1B visa petitions filed was 399,349. Of them, 87 percent were approved, while slightly over 58 percent have been approved in 2017. This decline came after USCIS announced in April that it would come down heavily on H1B visa abuse and fraud. The department added that it would concentrate on cases in which companies depend highly on H-1B employees and employers, letting these visa holders work off-site.
The H1B visa programme is for highly skilled foreign workers who want to take up employment at US-based companies – most of them are used by the tech industry. H1B applicants are generally well qualified and highly experienced, with more than 50 percent holding a master’s degree or higher. Their average salaries in the first six months of 2017 were $92,317.
Many of the petitions filed in 2017 still pending, according to USCIS spokeswoman Katie Tichacek. She was quoted as saying by Bloomberg that given present circumstances, it would be too early for USCIS to predict how many of H1B petitions will be approved finally.
Most people who filed petitions in 2017 were from India. China, Canada and South Korea took the second, third and fourth positions, respectively.
In 2016, 300,902 applications and extensions were filed by Indians as against 247,927 until now this year.
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