This probably is for the first time in the decade that H1B visa are under a threat of not filling its full quota of H1b visa’s. More than 20,000 H1B visa’s are still vacant and there are less than 3 weeks remaining to fill that up.
(update: These remaining Â H1B Visa’s can be filled up till they dry up or till the end of next financial year -2010 : thanks Martin & Ravi)
This is in stark contrast to previous 3-4 years when the full quota of 65,000 H1B Visa’s were lapped up within less than a month of opening up.
Whats the reason for this sudden fall of demand of H1B visa’s?
Offcourse, it can be attributed to Economic recession – but is that all? No, there is another reason as well that has significantly attributed to fall of demand – It is Obama’s policy of not allowing the companies who have taken government stimulus packages and have more than 15% of their workforce on Visa’s like h1b on their payroll.
These Financial services firms mopped the major portion of these H1Bs, and hence the low demand this time around.
Another reason is that U.S unemployment rate figures currently stand at 9.7%, highest in over quarter of a century – Subsequently, the salary rates have come down leading to lower demand of H1B visa’s. If American Corporations can get local employees at the same rate as H1Bs, they are going to prefer it.
Adding to all this is that the H1B visa granting process has become more stringent, thereby increasing disqualification.
I am also inclined to think that with this financial meltdown, the American shores seem to have lost their charm in the minds of Indian people – they are not finding it lucrative enough. They probably see India having much better opportunities and prospects in coming years (This is my feeling, not backed by any data)
How does it affect India?
I think it is great for India, we are retaining much needed talent here – the brain drain is reducing. You may want to read a hotly debated article – Free the H-1Bs, Free the Economy – by Vivek Wadhwa on Techcrunch.
But on the flip side, India is loosing a lot on foreign remittances which form a major part of Indian Economy. U.S contributes to nearly 44% of all foreign remittances in India. With less people going to foreign shores, the remittances are going to come down, thereby affecting our economy to a certain extent !
Whatever the reason, the much sought after H1B Visa seems to have loosing its premium status.