H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. It is a very popular visa category among skilled foreign workers aspiring to work in the US. In this article, we will explore the current number of H-1B visa holders in the US, providing valuable information and statistics about the H-1B visa program.
- The number of H-1B visa holders in the US has been on the rise in the last decade, reaching its peak of 583,420 in 2016.
- The top three industries that employ H-1B visa holders in the US are computer systems design, employment services, and telecommunications.
- The top three countries of origin for H-1B visa holders are India, China, and Canada.
- H-1B visa holders are highly skilled and educated, with over 70% of them holding a Master’s degree or higher.
- The H-1B visa program has been controversial, with arguments for and against its existence and modifications.
The Current Number of H-1B Visa Holders in the US
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there were 583,420 H-1B visa holders in the US in 2016, which is the highest number of H-1B visa holders to date. The number of H-1B visa holders has been on a steady rise from 296,697 in 2007 to 583,420 in 2016, as shown in the graph below.
The USCIS also reports that in 2019, there were 316,000 approved H-1B visa petitions. This number includes new petitions, petitions for visa extensions, and petitions for visa transfers.
Which Industries Employ H-1B Visa Holders the Most?
The H-1B visa program is most commonly used by employers in the following industries:
Computer systems design: This industry employed the highest number of H-1B visa holders in 2019, accounting for 36.7% of all H-1B visa applications approved by USCIS. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google rank among the top employers in this category.
Employment services: This industry ranks second in terms of the number of H-1B visa holders employed. Companies that provide staffing and outsourcing services or those that specialize in IT, engineering, and scientific consulting services fall into this category.
Telecommunications: This industry ranked third in terms of the number of H-1B visa holders employed in 2019. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are among the top employers in this industry.
To view the top 20 industries that employ H-1B visa holders, see the USCIS data here.
Where Do H-1B Visa Holders Come From?
The majority of H-1B visa holders come from India, China, and Canada, as shown in the graph below. In 2019, Indian nationals received approximately 70% of all H-1B visas approved, while Chinese nationals received about 13%.
Education Level of H-1B Visa Holders
H-1B visa holders are highly educated and skilled workers. According to the Migration Policy Institute’s (MPI) analysis of 2019 USCIS data, almost 70% of H-1B visa holders had a Master’s degree or higher. Among the top three countries of origin, Indian nationals have the highest percentage of Master’s degrees at 72.8%.
Is the H-1B Visa Program Controversial?
The H-1B visa program has been a political hot potato for many years, with two sides of the argument. On one side, advocates for the program claim that H-1B visa workers are highly skilled and bring much-needed expertise to the US. They further argue that foreign workers contribute to the US economy, as they help create jobs in various industries.
On the other hand, critics believe that the H-1B visa program is harmful to American workers, as it allows employers to hire foreign workers in high-skill jobs, while US workers remain unemployed. Additionally, critics argue that the program allows companies to replace their US workers with cheaper foreign labor, undermining the labor market.
Q: What is the duration of the H-1B visa?
A: The H-1B visa is valid for an initial period of three years, extendable up to six years.
Q: Can H-1B visa holders apply for permanent residency in the US?
A: Yes, H-1B visa holders can apply for permanent residency in the US, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
Q: How are H-1B visa applicants selected for approval?
A: H-1B visa applicants are selected in a lottery system. In 2020, USCIS conducted two rounds of lotteries to select H-1B visa applicants, one in March and the other in August.