Every year, the lottery for H-1B visas commences on April 1st and employment authorizations are granted on October 1st. With 85,000 visas issues annually, the H-1B program is the largest temporary visa program in the United States. They are held in high regard, especially by technology companies, and they are the primary means of entry to the U.S. for skilled immigrants. Pew Research analyzed metro-level data to show the major cities where H-1B recipients worked between 2010 and 2016.
Most approvals went to employers in metropolitan areas concentrated along the East Coast and in Texas. 247,900 of them went to employers in New York, 29 percent of total approvals worldwide. The Dallas metro area had the second highest number of approvals (74,000) while Washington D.C. came third (64,800). When it comes to approvals per 100 workers, College Station in Texas was first by quite a distance with 32. The second highest approval rate per 100 workers was Trenton, New Jersey, with just 5 by comparison.
Since Donald Trump became president, his administration has increased scrutiny of H-1B applications with companies contracting visas to other companies firmly in the firing line. While farming visas out to different employers is not illegal, requirements are in place whereby workers are supposed to maintain a relationship with their employers. In February, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency said it will require more information about H-1B workers’ employment to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. It has also emerged that renewals will have to be submitted in person with some businesses commenting that their H-1B visa holding employees are going through unparalleled levels of scrutiny and vetting.