US President, Donald Trump, officially ordered a review of the H1B visa in April 2017, sparking concerns that access to the US work visa will get tougher. The cap for the 2018 H1B scheme was reached within a few days of being introduced at the beginning of April. Workpermit.com has suggested a number of other US visa options available to applicants including the EB5 and L1 visas. Depending on nationality there is also the E2 visa and E1 visa.
Applications for H-1B visas for the 2018 fiscal year started flooding in from around the world on April 3. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported receiving 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period.
On April 11, the USCIS reverted to its computer-generated lottery system to randomly select 65,000 applications to meet the general category cap and the 20,000 cap for those with advanced US degrees.
H1B visa mainly used by Indians
The majority of H1B visas issued go to Indian nationals working across the IT sector. However, the Trump administration is determined to ‘cut off the supply’ claiming visa abuse. There have been claims that tech companies, mainly in Silicon Valley, are hiring cheap foreigner labor at the expense of local, American workers.
On March 31, USCIS released an update for the Nebraska Service Center saying that some lower level computer programmer jobs are not in a ‘speciality occupation’ as required for an H1B visa. It will need to be shown that the skills required will be at a high enough level to qualify for the temporary, non-immigrant visa.
Meanwhile, Democrat Zoe Lofgren recently submitted a private member’s bill to US Congressview to increasing the minimum salary threshold of an H-1B visa holder from its current minimum of $60,000 to a staggering $130,000.
Should the bill receive approval, the profit margins of IT companies are likely to be squeezed, leaving them no option but to hire American workers or recruit foreign talent via others means, such as the L1A of L1B visa routes.
L1 visas enable companies to transfer foreign workers with managerial, executive or specialised knowledge on a long term basis to the US. One commentator said: “A lot of companies prefer to deal with a local company or someone on the ground in the United States representing a foreign company instead of dealing directly with the foreign company.”
US presence for foreign companies beneficial
A US presence for foreign companies gives their US partners and clients confidence, according to experts, given that US courts are likely to have jurisdiction over any disputes that arise. The added value of establishing a presence in the US is that companies can register their intellectual property in the country, which is looked upon favorably.
However, the H-1B and L1 visas are reserved for foreign workers. Wealthy investors can opt for the EB5 visa, for which an applicant would need to invest $500,000 (according to recent reports this may go up) in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or $1 million in a non-TEA. Investment and should also create 10 jobs.
The EB5 immigrant investor visa has seen a spike in the number of Indian applicants in recent years, attributed to a number of factors, with one commentator saying that: “The US is a better country to retire in and there are more opportunities to expand business operations.”
In order to qualify for an EB5 visa, in many cases there may be parental funding for Indian students looking for work following their graduation in the US. However, the EB5 and L1 visas may lead to permanent residence and provide a quicker path to US citizenship.
Opting for the EB5 Green Card Visa or EB1C immigrant visa brings to an end the need to depend on an employer to remain in the US. Whereas an H1B visa holder, along with any dependents, may be forced to leave the country once their contract of employment has expired.
Workpermit.com can help with E1, E2, L1, H1B, B1 in lieu of H1B, E3 Visas, EB5 visas and other types of US Visas
For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for an US work visa, contact WorkPermit.com on 0344 991 9222.