H-1B Numbers Fall Due to Slowed Visa Processing, Travel Restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic and visa restrictions are having an impact on the number of H-1B workers currently in the United States, as well as the U.S. government’s H-1B lottery process.

An analysis of U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) data by Bloomberg shows that the number of engineering and mathematics workers on the H-1B “fell 12.6 percent in the fiscal year ending September 2021 compared to the previous year.” That’s the second consecutive annual decline “for a segment of the workforce that has historically seen consistent job growth,” the publication added.

What’s behind the drop? The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the pace of visa processing. Virus-related travel restrictions and the rise of remote work also placed additional pressure, with many companies opting to offshore their technology workloads rather than apply for worker visas.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government still hasn’t dispensed its full quota of H-1B visas, resorting to a third lottery for the fiscal year 2022 cap. This is the first time that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has conducted a third lottery. According to the National Law Review:

“USCIS has determined that there were fewer filed H-1B petitions as compared to selected H-1B registrations in the prior two lotteries. As a result, USCIS selected an additional 16,753 registrations out of the roughly 190,000 unselected registrations from March in order to ensure that enough petitions are approved to fill the annual quota of 85,000.”

The Biden administration spent its first year rolling back many of the Trump administration’s immigration-related restrictions, including an attempt by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to narrow the eligibility for the H-1B visa. Although the Biden administration has hinted at H-1B reform—including legislation that would prioritize visas based on wages—it has yet to announce anything substantial in that regard.

For years, critics have argued that the current H-1B lottery allows companies to import cheaper labor. Meanwhile, the visa’s supporters insist that the tech industry’s low unemployment rate means companies need the H-1B in order to secure the specialized talent they need. Whatever your position, though, it’s clear that the pandemic has impacted the H-1B system in very significant ways—and may continue to do so for quite some time. 

8 Responses to “H-1B Numbers Fall Due to Slowed Visa Processing, Travel Restrictions”

  1. Jake Leone

    Meta (Facebook) admitted to Federal investigators, that for every STEM/IT job ad it places on its own job’s website. Meta receives hundreds of resumes. Of those hundreds of resumes. Meta admitted to Federal investigators that it finds 30 or more that are better qualified than foreign workers, at Meta, that are undergoing the Green Card Perm process.

    Meta did this fraud, 2600+ times, over just a 1.5 year period. But that is just the period of the Federal audit. You can be sure, that this has been going on at Facebook/Meta for decades, at approximately the same rate. And that the rest of Big Tech, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google (having legal team’s with the same game plan) are doing it at the same rate.

    Meta, admitted that it never forwards the resumes of the 29 or so, highly qualified local STEM/IT workers that it cannot hire to the hiring managers involved in the Green Card Perm process (because it simply doesn’t actually have the local STEM/IT jobs that local STEM/IT candidates are allowed to compete for).

    Because, if META did forward these better qualified local STEM/IT workers to the hiring managers involved in the Green Card PERM process, it would invalidate the Green Card application for that foreign worker (which by our U.S. law, is exactly what should happen, hence the DOJ indictment).

    We are in fact seeing an unprecedented 3rd lottery for H-1b visa workers. And there is a strong suspicion that this is because many of the H-1b applications are redundant, more than one application for the same prospective h-1b worker. There is a lawsuit which aims to get discovery on this, and hopefully a remedy. But the Biden administration, is refusing to disclose this information. Because it is HUGELY POLITICALLY EMBARRASSING.

    Facebook, like the rest of Big Tech, has lied for decades about a STEM/IT worker shortage. The Big Tech companies have never experienced a lack of fully qualified local STEM/IT workers. The DOJ indictment proves this, by META’s (Facebook’s) own admission to Federal investigators, under the threat of a Federal Obstruction of Justice charge if any miss-truth/lie was told to those Federal investigators.

    The reality is, anyone would trade their unstable job at a startup, for a job at a Big Stable tech company. Because literally it is employment stability that gives a family the ability to apply for the big loan needed to buy a house.

    And the data shows this. Facebook finds 30 or more, fully qualified local STEM/IT worker for every job it openly advertises. Unfortunately. local STEM/IT workers have the ability to leave the company, blow the whistle at anytime.

    And that kind of freedom has cost Facebook, literally, billions of dollars. Facebook paid the FTC, 5 billion dollars, so that Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg would not have to testify. And, according to whistle-blowers, if they did testify, and they didn’t lie, they would have to admit that the order to give away political data about Facebook users came right from Mark Zuckerberg (despite that being legal violation, a violation of Facebook’s own stated rules, and being completely the opposite of the lie that Mark, Sheryl and the rest of Facebook have been saying to the public since the scandal started).

    Mark Zuckerberg is literally, a bad CEO. He may have been a good start-up CEO, but now that he has responsibility, he has used that responsibility very unwisely. And he has used the financial resource of Facebook to avoid taking responsibility, for anything. And that is costing Facebook 5 billion dollars (and will continue to cost Facebook billions more going forward).

    If Mark simply left, or if Mark would simply admit what was done wrong. It wouldn’t cost Meta/Facebook anything. But then he would have to take the witness stand. and I wonder is he worried about other skeletons in the closett? It would also cost Mark Zuckerberg a lot in terms of credibility and future political aspirations. I see no reason why Meta’s stockholders should be paying for Mark Zuckerberg’s political career.

  2. No national interests, values and ethics.
    Import h1b, refugees(spent billions in their home country and now spending billions in US), illegals.
    Promote/Legalize unethical and against the nature acts, drugs, igniting racism (all these for votes) etc. which all makes the future generation lives dangerous, consfused and mentally disturbed state of mind for the selfish acts of the present leaders.

  3. The pretext for the H-1B visa is that there’s a shortage of domestic talent, especially in STEM fields. But the notion of a shortage of STEM workers in the US is demonstrably false and it’s shameful that this “shortage” nonsense is perpetuated. Data from the Census Bureau confirmed that a stunning 3 in 4 Americans with a STEM degree do not hold a job in a STEM field—that’s a pool of more than 11 million Americans with STEM qualifications who lack STEM employment. The US Census shows that of those college graduates who majored in Computers, Mathematics and Statistics (1,959,730), 50.81% did not hold a job in a STEM field. Of those who majored in Engineering (3,340,430), 50.54% did not hold a job in a STEM field[1].

    These are constantly growing numbers: Rutgers Professor Hal Salzman, a top national expert on STEM labor markets, estimates that “U.S. colleges produce twice the number of STEM graduates annually as find jobs in those fields.”[2]

    There is, in fact, a glut of STEM-trained domestic talent.

    The notion of a long-term labor shortage doesn’t pass the laugh test. It shows a complete ignorance of how labor markets function in a democratic, free market society.

    [1] US Census Bureau, “Census Bureau Reports Majority of STEM College Graduates Do Not Work in STEM Occupations, Release Number: CB14-130”, July 10, 2014

    [2] Salzman, Hal, “STEM Grads Are at a Loss”, U.S. News, September 15, 2014

  4. I still don’t get this shortage of labor at IT, I applied more than 1000 position got 6 screen interviews, and just 2 technical interviews. When I asked the hiring manager they said they have at least 10 applicants that pass the finals. Where is the shortage ???. I applied for c# positions.

    • There is no shortage. That is the famous industry lie. So how industry just cannot find enough workers in the US to fill demand. The only source to go to is cheap Indian labor. Keeping wages at levels from the 1990’s and producing a workforce that is the next best thing to 19th century slavery.

  5. I am a software developer, we graduated 15 in our class months ago, only 1 has been hired. I have applied everywhere, like the rest of the class. Almost no calls or interviews. And when I get one, I see that there are over 70 applicants for the same job. Where is the shortage? Companies rather hire people from other countries than from home. And the government allows them to do that.

    • Jake_Leone

      The shortage is a big myth perpetuated by the software industry. But there is a DOJ indictment of Facebook for fraud in the Green Card system that gives us the information we can trust. That information, gathered by Federal investigators, was taken under the threat that any mistruth/lie could result in a Federal Obstruction of Justice charge.

      In that indictment, Facebook’s own employees told Federal investigators that for every STEM or IT job that Facebook advertises, it recieves over 200 resumes from local STEM/IT candidates. Of those hundreds of resume, 30+ are fully qualified for the job, but Facebook has to turn all but one away (1 job ad, 1 job placement).

      Facebook’s own employees go on to tell Federal Investigators that the 29 (or so) they turn away are in fact better qualified than the foreign workers that Facebook protects from local competition during the Green Card perm process (by hiding the job ad in 2 print editions of the Chronicle). This information came directly from Facebook’s current employees, who cooperated with Federal Investigators, and with Facebook’s agreement to cooperate. These were not whistle blowers, just Facebook HR people who could not risk a Federal Obstruction of Justice charge.

      It was a huge mistake by Facebook to cooperate with Federal Investigators. They tried to get the indictment dismissed on a technicality, but they failed. And Facebook never brought any evidence to counter the statements of their own Facebook employees.

      It was settled because the Biden administration is in collusion with Big Tech on this, and that collusion is costing the U.S. billions of dollars in lost opportunity/jobs. But the Democrats don’t care, if the Big Tech is willing to give the Democrats money (Big Tech gave the Biden campaign 100 million dollars), they will throw everyone’s job under the bus.

      That indictment covers only a 1.5 year period. But this has been going on for decades at Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft… all the Big Tech companies use the same tactics to prevent local STEM/IT candidates from being able to compete for a job.

      And the reason is because foreign applicants won’t blow the whistle on company problems, and they won’t leave the company, forever until they get a Green Card (which never happens for people from India and China, hence the racist and bloated demand for those 2 groups of people, in regard to the H-1b visa).

      And blowing the whistle or leaving for a competitor is huge in the board rooms of Silicon Valley. Go research the Silicon Valley no Poaching scandal. And realize that Facebook paid 5 billion to the FTC (and will probably even more billions) to keep Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg off the witness stand, in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Some whistle-blowers are saying that the order to give away user’s political affiliations was given by none-other than Mark Zuckerberg himself.

      This shows that Mark Zuckerberg is a stubborn selfish person. This stubborness could also be evident in the unwillingness of companies to face the truth about H-1b visas and Green Card indenturement. They have told the lie so much, that they are unwilling to come clean about it, and every piece of information they have to let out just makes them look like complete phonies on this issue.

      It has nothing to do with talent. It is simply a case that there are these 2 groups of people who can wind up indentured to a company forever that makes them so valuable.

  6. Regarding the false claims of not having US citizens available for jobs – the applicants can’t always tell, but employees can get a bit more insight. If you see something – say something. The USCIS website has a way to report this. You can call anonymously. Do it.