H1B Visa Number: Understanding its Impact on Employers and Employees

The H1B visa is widely considered a golden ticket for many foreigners who want to work in the United States, but the availability of the visa number remains a critical challenge. Every year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) releases a cap on the number of H1B visas available, and demand often exceeds the supply, with applicants requiring to go through a lottery system to get their visas.

In this article, we’ll explore the H1B visa number concept, how it’s decided, the factors that impact it, and its impact on both employers and employees.

Key Takeaways

  • The H1B visa is a work visa offered by the United States for skilled and specialized foreign workers
  • The H1B visa number is a cap set by the USCIS on how many H1B visas can be released each year
  • The H1B visa number is decided by the congress, which authorizes the number of visas that can be issued
  • Demand for H1B visas far outpaces the supply of available visas every year, leading to a lottery system to determine the final winners
  • The visa number has a significant impact on both employers and employees, with competition high from both sides
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Understanding H1B Visa Numbers

The H1B visa number refers to a cap set by the United States government on the number of H1B visas that can be issued every year. The USCIS sets the cap, which is authorized by the congress. The current cap is 85,000 visas for the fiscal year 2021, with 20,000 visas set aside for applicants with advanced degrees.

Factors That Affect the H1B Visa Number

Several factors influence the H1B visa number, including political and economic factors, changes in immigration policies, and the state of the job market.

In 2020, the Trump administration announced new immigration policies that sharply reduced the availability of H1B visas. Revoking work visas for spouses of H1B visa holders, increasing H1B fees, and making the application process more stringent were some measures that contributed to reducing the number of H1B visas provided.

Understanding the Impact of H1B Visa Numbers on Employers

The H1B visa number can significantly affect employers that are looking to sponsor foreign workers. Companies invest a lot of time and resources to apply for visas for their employees. The competition is generally high from both sides, with businesses competing for skilled workers and their H1B visa slots.

The visa number also impacts the timeline for visa applications and the cost of sponsorship. Due to the overwhelming demand for visas, the lottery selection process can take several months, and applicants often need to wait for several months before they can even begin to work in the United States.

Understanding the Impact of H1B Visa Numbers on Employees

The H1B visa number has a considerable impact on foreign workers. The competition among workers for a visa number can be significant, with thousands of applicants competing for a limited number of slots. The probability of getting selected in the lottery can be low, leading to long periods of uncertainty and inability to plan for the future.

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Once approved, the time it takes to relocate can be quite long due to the complicated process the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency goes through to verify the credentials of both the employee and employer. There are also challenges like adjusting to life in a new country and bridging culture gaps.


The H1B visa number remains a critical challenge for employers and employees looking to work in the United States. The existing cap ferociously competes for a visa number, which often doesn’t fulfill their intentions. Companies have to invest heavily in their applications, while workers experience long periods of uncertainty due to the limited number of available visas. We strongly urge the current administration and Congress to review the current cap on H1B visas and consider expanding the number to help ease national worker shortages in key industries.


1. What is the H1B Visa Number?

The H1B visa number is a cap set by the United States government on the number of H1B visas that can be issued each year.

2. Can the H1B visa number change?

Yes, the H1B visa number can change every year based on a decision made by Congress.

3. How long does it take to get an H1B visa?

Due to high demand and a limited number of visas available, the processing time for an H1B visa can be several months, sometimes extending up to six months.

4. Can employers sponsor an H1B visa for all types of jobs?

No, the H1B visa is only granted for specialized and skilled workers, and the job should require a bachelor’s degree or higher education.

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5. How much does it cost to get an H1B Visa?

The total cost of an H1B visa includes several fees such as legal processing fees, USCIS fees, and attorney fees. The cost can range between $3,000 and $10,000.

About the Author

Latasha W. Bolt

Latasha is a travel writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a degree in journalism and has been traveling the world since she was a teenager. Latasha is experienced in navigating the visa and passport application process and shares her knowledge and experiences on the blog. Her articles are personal and engaging, providing readers with a unique perspective on the joys and challenges of international travel.

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