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US H-1B Visa Holders Witness Highest Drop in Decade

US H-1B Visa Holders Witness Highest Drop in Decade

The number of immigrants working in high-tech jobs on an H-1B visa in the US has dropped to their lowest in a decade, according to a Bloomberg analysis of recent data from the US Department of Labor.

Workers with engineering and mathematics backgrounds working in the US on the non-immigrant visa dropped 12.6% in the fiscal year ending September 2021 as compared to the previous year, it said.

The second consecutive annual decline for H-1B workers, who were otherwise on the rise, in the country is being attributed to Covid-19 related travel and visa restrictions.

During the fiscal year, such employees across job categories were pegged at 497,000—a drop of 9% from 2020 levels and 17% lower from 2019 found the Bloomberg analysis from the year 2011 to 2021.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had earlier conducted an unprecedented third H-1B lottery to meet the limit for the financial year 2021-22.

USCIS earlier said it needs to pick additional registrations to meet the numerical cap including advanced degree exemptions.

“On November 19, we selected from among previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on November 19 will begin on Nov. 22, 2021, and close on Feb. 23, 2022. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file,” the USCIS said in a statement.

The H-1B program allows companies and other employers in the US to temporarily employ foreigners, having a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, for “highly specialized” occupations. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts.

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