It is true to say that the current economic situation in our country is directly related to the problems we have in our Immigration system. In addition to the weak economy, companies have stopped filing for H1B visas in the face of anti-immigrant sentiment in Washington and rising costs associated with hiring foreign-born workers.
Mirian Jordan from the Wall Street Journal published an excellent article on this matter. She states:
The sagging economy, which has pushed U.S. unemployment to 9.8%, has crimped expansion in the technology sector, traditionally the biggest user of the H-1B program. Usually, all visas are allocated within a month or two from April, when applications for the following fiscal year are first accepted. But this year, six months later, “you can still walk in with an application and you’re still highly likely to get approved,” said R. Srikrishna, senior vice president for business operations in North America for HCL Technologies Ltd., an Indian outsourcing company.
The cost and bureaucracy of applying for H-1B visas is another deterrent. Lawyers’ fees, filing fees and other expenses can easily reach $5,000 per applicant. Immigration lawyers say some would-be employers are put off by a crackdown on fraud. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers the H-1B program, has been dispatching inspectors on surprise company visits to verify that H-1B employees are performing the jobs on the terms specified. The fraud-detection unit in coming months is expected to inspect up to 20,000 companies with H-1Bs and other temporary worker visas.
I also wanted to add that the extra scrutiny that the USCIS has applied to H1B visa adjudication this year, the large number of request for evidence that were issued to pending cases, dettered employers even more from filing this year. Finally, the implementation of the new LCA system with its glitches sealed the deal on high volume of H1B visas in the near future. I hope that this trend will change and we will feel some positive attitude coming from the government towards this much needed visa.