Holders of work visas H-1B: how many are there in the US and how often they are immigrants

Service citizenship and US immigration services (USCIS) published a report which gave an overview of the holders of non-immigrant visas H-1B eligible to work in the United States. Data was collected on September 30, 2019 and published on the official website.

Держатели рабочих виз H-1B: сколько их в США и как часто они становятся иммигрантами

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The analysis showed that as at the specified date, the number of persons eligible for employment visa H-1B, was 583 420 people. All aliens included in that number are not immigrants, they received permission from the USCIS and Department of State (if applicable) to work in the specialty as specified in the visa. The report provides the total number of aliens who are beneficiaries of approved I-129 (H-1B).

Non-immigrant visa H-1B is a means through which U.S. employers can get foreign workers on a temporary basis for certain occupations. The drafters of the report note that the estimation of the population of the United States with H-1B visa and related work permit (ATW), remains difficult, as no single electronic data system does not track and does not publish this information.

Population ATW is defined as a set of unique foreign nationals who (1) are the beneficiaries of approved I-129 petition on the specialty H-1B, and (2) has not received the status of a lawful permanent resident (LPR), has not changed status to another nonimmigrant visa and was refused a visa when applying to the US Consulate abroad.

From a report was not excluded foreigners who had a valid visa/H-1B status, but refused their visas or status (has left the States forever or did not try to enter the United States, having an approved petition for the new job). Not removed from the General report and those who approved the visa, but not missed on the border at points of entry officers of customs and border protection.

Electronic registration system USCIS (SOR) shows 725 613 of approved petitions for H-1B expire until the 2019 fiscal year and next. However, a single alien may be the beneficiary of multiple petitions. Since there is no unique identifier for petitions H-1B cap USCIS, the authors used a methodology of statistical inference.

For the dynamics of the population of holders of work visas a characteristic cyclicity. At the end of the fiscal year (the end of the year for the limit on H-1B) estimated population ATW is the lowest of all four quarters. After the start of the new annual limit this population is increasing. According to estimates, at the end of the first quarter of the new fiscal year population ATW increased on average by 9-10% compared to the end of the previous quarter and remains relatively stable in the next two quarters. According to September 30, 2019 total estimated population of the ATW was 619 327.

The actual number of nonimmigrants H-1B living in the United States, less than the population assessment ATW. First, even if the alien is the beneficiary of an approved petition I-129 visa H-1B, it may need approval for the visa from the U.S. state Department, including for entry into the United States. In some cases the visa is issued and in this case, the alien will not be able to come to work. Second, workers H-1B can also change their status to become lawful permanent residents (LPR). Thirdly, foreigners who have previously been rated H-1B status may change status to other nonimmigrant.

The failure rate for consular processing H-1B fiscal year 2015 to 2019 financial year ranged from 1.9% to 2.3%, on average of 2.2%. At this rate, an approximate estimate of the number of foreigners who are refused a visa, is 2,100 people.

Aliens in H-1B status can request a change of status to nonimmigrant. They can request a different status based on employment (for example, O-1, L-1, etc.) based on the filing of new form I-129 can request a change of status not related to work (e.g., F-1, H-4, etc.) by filling out the form I-539. In the first case it made 485 in the second — about 1475 people.

Reemigrants can become an immigrant, the change of status to a lawful permanent resident (LPR or holder of a green card) at the discretion of USCIS if he has that right. Historical data show that the vast majority (over 80%) of the holders of H-1B status who changed the status, did it on the basis of the change of categories of preferences, a minority — because of family, humanitarian and other reasons.

Since the H-1B is valid for up to 3 years, the former holders of H-1B status who changed the status from 2017 to 2019 fiscal year could potentially have a H-1B visa with a validity until 30 September 2019. The latest data show that in 2017 and 2018 37 001 31 561 people have adjusted status to lawful permanent resident, respectively. By 2019 the data yet, the study authors suggest figure 28 236. The total estimated number of nonimmigrants H-1B that changed status in fiscal years from 2017 to 2019, is 96 798 people.

Total as of 30 September 2019 in the U.S. had a right to work visa H-1B 583 420 people. It is expected that the population of ATW in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2020 will be approximately 10% higher than this estimate.

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