H1B Visas Decrease By 17%, H1B For Maths, Engineering Drop By 12%: Worst Decline In 10 Years (But Why?)
The world which entered the pandemic almost two years ago was not at all similar to the one we are living in today. It has changed the way people, communities, corporates, and nations operate. It has impacted job scenarios like never before. And unsurprisingly it has affected the way H1-B visas are being rolled out in the USA.
H1-B Visas lowest in the decade
According to a recent report, the number of immigrants under the H1-B visa program holding high-tech jobs dropped the most in at least a decade this year in the U.S. Foreign engineering and mathematics workers on H-1B visas fell 12.6% in the fiscal year ending September 2021 compared to the previous year.
This is the second consecutive year that has witnessed an annual decline for a segment of the workforce that has historically seen consistent job growth. The slowdown in visa processing during lockdowns and tightened immigration policies stemming from the pandemic is being cited as the reasons for this decline.
It should be noted that the H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire high-skilled foreign workers for jobs in specialty fields like coding and engineering.
As of now, the program is limited to 85,000 new visas annually, but foreign workers who receive H-1B visas can transfer roles within the same field, change companies, or have their visas extended.
STEM jobs are not immune to pandemic
According to immigration attorney Nandini Nair, this decline in hiring for H-1B foreign STEM workers indicates the field of technology wasn’t immune to the disruptions caused by Covid-19, although it was hit to a lesser extent compared with other industries. Nandini Nair is a partner at Greenspoon Marder.
In March and April last year, STEM jobs experienced record layoffs. But the sector rebounded quickly and experienced lower unemployment during the pandemic than other industries. In September there were a record 230,000 job openings in the information sector.
As per Shannon Donnelly, a partner at Morgan Lewis, what we’re seeing right now is a resurgence in hiring across the board whether it would be for those sponsorships or not. She expects an uptick as we pull out of the pandemic.