Sources have stated that the cap for US H-1B visas for 2018 may have been reached but immigration experts say that Indian applicants, who form the majority of the recipients of such visas, have other options as well such as the L1 and EB5 visas. The US missions across the world started accepting H-1B applications for fiscal 2018 from April 3. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period.
Previously on April 11, the USCIS used a computer-generated lottery to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general category cap and the 20,000 cap for those with advanced US degrees. The new Donald Trump administration has also sought to make acquiring H-1B visas tougher. The USCIS on March 31 issued a clarification that computer programmers, to be eligible under the H-1B visa norms, must prove that theirs is a specialty occupation. Merely obtaining a computer degree may not be enough.
Meanwhile, a private member’s bill was also introduced in the US Congress by Democrat Zoe Lofgren which seeks to increase the minimum salary of H1-B visa holder to a whopping $130,000 from the current minimum of $60,000. The bill, if passed, will impact the margins of IT companies, the biggest beneficiaries of the H1-B visa program, or their clients will face higher charges for the work performed, said by Mark Davies.
According to Abhinav Lohia, Partner and Practice Chair of India and Southeast Asia at Davies & Associates, the L1 visa can help as “a lot of US companies prefer to deal with a local company or someone on the ground in the United States representing a foreign company instead of dealing directly with the foreign company". Upon being fired from his/her job, an H1-B visa holder may have to leave the country along with his/her family, whereas once someone gets permanent residence they are no longer dependent on others for their stay in the US as long as they are law-abiding and renew their Green Card on time.”