The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced proposed changes to H-1B Visas that will continue to impact businesses in the United States. H-1B Visas are granted to employees that have specialized skills that many companies, primarily tech companies, struggle to find in the United States.
Amazon (AMZN) is one of the top companies hiring H-1B workers, and in 2017, the company had 2,515 successful applications. Google (GOOGL) had 1,213, while Microsoft (MSFT) had 1,479 successful applications.
Facebook and Apple also had a large amount of applications approved.
Changes that have been recommended will help advanced degree holders by offering applicants that have advanced degrees a favored application process. The rule change would allow for these advanced degree holders to have a 16% higher change of having their H-1B Visa approved.
What Changes Will Mean for Businesses
Businesses that are filing for H-1B Visas for potential employees will have an easier time for advanced degree holders that currently have to apply for one of the 20,000 advanced degree holder visas offered.
These individuals will go into the 65,000 pool of applicants first. When this cap is hit, advanced degree holders would then go into the 20,000 pool. Reversing the process will allow for more applicants to get approval, and it will ensure that companies are able to hire top-tier talent.
An online registration system would also be created for applicants, and the agency will randomly allow certain accounts to submit their application. The process will allow for a random lottery like in the past, but applicants that have been selected will be the only ones able to submit their applications.
Companies that are sponsoring these potential applicants are slated to save as much as $75.5 million in application mailing and preparation alone. USCIS officials will also save time in application selection. In fiscal 2019, there were just under 191,000 visa applications mailed in between April 2 and April 11.
Government expenditures are expected to be $1.8 million less over a period of 10 years. The cost to set the system up is just $279,000.
It’s unknown if the online system will be implemented before the April 2019 filing season, and the approval process would have to be immediate to allow for the system to be thoroughly tested.
The online system, which a similar one was recommended under the Obama Administration, would allow tech companies a higher chance of hiring advanced talent to fill their ranks.