H-1B Visa

Generally US based companies identify foreign workers whose talent is not available within USA and file H-1B petition (here in after call H-1B applications) on behalf of that worker. Sometimes such workers are called non-immigrant workers or Guest worker or H-1B worker. If H-1B is granted, then that worker can work for 3 years and it could be extended by another three years if necessary.

US based company should provide justification that the worker (for whom it is filing H-1B application) has a talent which is not available within USA and that talent is critical to maintain its competitiveness in the global market place. Therefore, this foreign worker should be permitted to work in USA.

There is a cap on how many H-1B applications to be granted in one year for workers from a given country. India has the highest cap and the cap for this year (April 2017-March 2018) was 65,000. Another 20,000 H-1B visas are reserved for master’s degrees from US Universities (of any nationality). This means Indians enrolled in US universities can additionally apply for H-1B.

Generally, the window for submitting H-1B applications opens on April 1st every year. It gets over within days after opening. Just to give an idea, US immigration department received just short of 2lakh H-1B applications in just four days after opening the window.

H-1B is granted using a lottery system. This means every H-1B visa application has 33% chance of being approved. According to US Immigration department, Indian IT outsourcing companies such as TCS, WIPRO, and INFOSYS use up roughly 20% of the H1B quota. Rest is used by multinationals such as IBM, Accenture etc.

This year (April 2017-March 2018), TCS, WIPRO & INFOSYS got much less H-1B visa than what they usually got. Perhaps, there is a shift in the policy of these firms to recruit more US workers and less Indian workers for onsite jobs.