Are Tech Pros Impacted by H-1B Premium Processing Suspension?

To say that the H-1B program is controversial within the tech industry is something of an understatement. Many companies insist that H-1B visas allow them to import talent from overseas that they could never find domestically. Meanwhile, domestic workers complain that those companies cynically use H-1B to undercut salaries.

During his campaign for the Presidency, Donald Trump publicly disparaged the H-1B program’s effect on workers, and his administration has taken some steps to restrict aspects of it (although he hasn’t gone far enough, if you listen to the critics). For example, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has extended a suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions, which in theory has made life difficult for companies that rely on the visa.

But is the suspension actually having an impact on the tech community? Blind, which regularly surveys tech pros about issues affecting the industry, recently asked: “Have you been negatively affected by the suspension of H-1B premium processing?” Some 38.19 percent of the (anonymous) respondents answered “Yes,” while 17.68 percent said “No,” and 44.13 percent said: “Does not apply.” (Some 10,554 users of the Blind app responded to the survey, and could only answer once.)

Breaking things down by company, eBay had the most employees answering “Yes” (55.4 percent), followed by PayPal (51.49 percent) and Amazon (44.94 percent). Facebook and Google had the lowest number of employees responding in the affirmative, with 35.28 percent and 28.84 percent (respectively). Here’s a chart for your viewing pleasure:

Because Blind’s survey is anonymous, it’s hard to tell whether a higher percentage of employees reporting “Yes” correlates with their firm’s usage of H-1B visas; for example, one company’s respondents could include proportionally more managers and HR employees than others. But taken as a whole, it’s clear that the H-1B suspension is impacting a healthy number of tech employees (although not the majority).

In Silicon Valley, where many of these companies are based, there’s quite a bit of support for H-1B visas, at least according to a survey conducted in mid-2018 by The Mercury News. Some 71 percent of respondents told the newspaper that they thought the number of H-1B visas doled out annually should be kept the same or increased, while 22 percent thought the quantity should be decreased.

In addition, some 38 percent thought that H-1B workers provided “critical skills” that companies couldn’t find in domestic employees, in contrast to the 23 percent who thought that H-1B recipients took jobs “that would otherwise be filled by qualified American workers.”

Whatever your opinion on H-1Bs, the fact remains that all the little changes instituted over the past two years by the Trump administration could end up having a larger cumulative effect in 2019. The structure of the visa lottery system itself may undergo significant changes, with those applicants with advanced degrees getting a better shot at seeing their H-1B petitions approved.

6 Responses to “Are Tech Pros Impacted by H-1B Premium Processing Suspension?”

  1. Now we have a top ten lists of companies that need to be audited for H1-B abuse. How many recent grads are still looking for jobs because these H1-B’s work for pennies. How many AMERICAN developers have seen their livelihoods greatly diminished so internet robber-barons can make billions while AMERICAN developers working in America see their wages stagnate and revert to the mid 90’s. How many AMERICAN jobs will be lost going forward because these robber-barrons trained foreign workers who go home and take the work with them. This madness must stop! Kill the H1-B, F-4, L-1, etc visa programs and save what is left for the next generation of AMERICANS.

    • Those American developers all have great jobs. There is already a shortage of these professionals, so anyone with the correct degree is getting a great job immediately, with a salary way above the national average.
      So if you actually know any such tech professionals without job, or with job with low salary, please let me know. Our company is desperately looking for them, and we have great salary to offer.

      Many projects and investments are already delayed, put on hold or even cancelled, because there are not enough people who could actually do the job.

      • TechForHire

        Where are you located and what kind of work? I am a born and raised American tech worker with a six month contract currently, which may or may not be renewed. Always looking for something more permanent. Even if it means I have to live somewhere that’s not LA, SF, Portland, Denver, Austin, or Seattle.

    • Haha. Really? I know no one who’s a coder and who’s unemployed. If you stop by any Computer Science Department (or STEM related fields) some majors are 40-70% foreign; not just for bachelors. The situation is even more prevalent in Masters/PhD’s degrees.

    • 50yr old IT Professional over-the-hill

      “I know no one who’s a coder and who’s unemployed.”

      What you mean to say is, ” I don’t know anyone who’s a coder and unemployed”.

      Here’s an outstanding book detailing the damage the H1-B program has done to America and American tech workers.

      ““Billion’s Lost: The American Tech Crisis and The Road Map to Change” is a must-read about the inner workings of the U.S. tech industry. The impact of H-1B Visas, offshore labor, education, and globalism are analyzed as Gamm educates the masses on the history of U.S. technology and the crisis that was Y2K. By simplifying political science, economics, and civics concepts, Gamm connects the dots on the causes and effects of our tech industry exodus, painting an eye-opening portrait of what the future holds if corrective action isn’t taken.”

  2. US has enough talent and available citizens. H1B must reduced to 1000- 2000 and stop H4/L2 EAD’s. Trump made false promises and he is not doing anything to stop any visas, chain immigration and free or quick (L1/EB5 etc) green cards. US generations life is getting miserable with these leader’ actions for last 15+ years.