The USCIS said in its latest report titled 'Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers' that Indians accounted for more than 74.2 percent of H-1B visas in 2016 and it increased to 75.6 percent in 2017. There is however, a drop in the number of the new H-1B beneficiaries from India. In 2016, as many as 70,737 Indians received initial H-1B visas, which dropped to 67,815.
The report highlighted that the number of H-1B petitions approved for workers in computer-related occupations increased by 6.6 per cent from 237,837 in 2016 to 254,592 in 2017. The number of H-1B petitions for other occupation groups increased by 3.4 per cent from 106,418 in 2016 to 110,009 in 2017, the report said.
Reportedly, the report dismantled several myths about H-1B, and the USCIS said the median salary of beneficiaries of approved petitions increased from USD 82,000 for fiscal year 2016 to USD 85,000 for fiscal 2017.
H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.Indian IT companies, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, have a significant number of its employees deployed at third-party worksites. A significant number of American banking, travel and commercial services depend on on-site IT workers from India to get their job done. The US, which has taken a number of steps to tighten visa processes, accounts for over 60 per cent of India's IT export revenues.
Last month, it came as a huge blow to H1-B visa holders as Donald Trump administration planned to end allowing spouses of H1-B visa holders to work legally in the US. The move could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visas holders, who have work permits. H-4 is issued to the spouse of H-1B visa holders.The move will end the Obama-era rule which gave work permits for spouses who otherwise could not be employed. H4 visa holders were not allowed to work for pay in America until the Obama government changed the rule in 2015.
(With additional inputs from PTI)