The filing period for H-1B visas — temporary work visas for highly skilled foreign workers — began Monday for the 2019 federal fiscal year. The number of H-1B visas is capped by law at 85,000, but the cap was reached in the first week for the fifth year in a row last year.
However, the H-1B visa has been a political target. US Citizenship and Immigration Services in March reported it would suspend premium processing of H-1B petitions for the 2019 fiscal year. It followed another announcement in February that USCIS would target H-1B petitions for third-party worksites.
Meanwhile, a legislative proposal pending in Congress would increase the visa annual cap by up to 110,000, depending on demand, among other changes. The bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
A survey released in February by Envoy Global, the maker of a platform to assist in securing global work permits, found that 44% of employers say US visa application process has become more difficult, up from 35% in the previous year. It said 61% cited increased complexity as resulting in the extra difficulty. The survey included 401 HR professionals from the US.
Meanwhile, news reports indicate Indian IT companies dramatically reduced their H-1B visa filings.