Computer companies account for nearly one-half of all new petitions for H1-B visas each year, according to a recent study. This type of visa allows immigrants with particular skills in “specialty occupations” to work in the United States temporarily. A “speciality occupation” is one that involves specialized knowledge in fields such as science, medicine, engineering, technology, education, or the arts. Most require at least a bachelor’s level degree to qualify for a visa. The study, conducted by the Brookings Institution, examined H1-B petitions filed by employers in 106 major metropolitan areas around the country. It found that the New York City area has the highest demand for H1-B workers. It also found that, in most metropolitan areas, more than half of all H1-B petitions involved occupations in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
An employer who wants to bring a foreign worker to the United States for a job must petition to obtain an H1-B visa for the worker. The employer begins the process by filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in which the employer attests that it is offering the “prevailing wage” for the position and that it is not replacing an eligible American worker or adversely impacting similar workers’ working conditions. Once DOL approves the LCA, the employer files a visa petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pays various visa fees. The beneficiary, for whom the visa is sought, must undergo an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad before receiving a visa. An annual cap limits the total number of available H1-B visas. The is usually 85,000 total visas per year. The cap has been reached every year since 2003, at different times each year. USCIS announced that the cap for fiscal year 2013 was reached on June 11, 2012.
The Brookings Institution study, entitled “The Search for Skills: Demand for H-1B Immigrant Workers in U.S. Metropolitan Areas,” reviewed requests for H1-B visas in 106 cities with the most total requests for the period from 2001 to 2011. It analyzed the types of industries requesting visas, the geographic areas of the requests, and the companies making the most requests. Microsoft Corporation had the most average annual requests, with 4,109. This accounted for just over one percent of the total number of requests. “Computer occupations” were the top category in average annual H1-B requests, numbering more than 150,000 and accounting for almost forty-seven percent of the total.
In its geographic analysis, the study ranked the greater New York City area first, with an average annual total of 52,921 requests, more than sixteen percent of the total. This area includes New York City, Long Island, and the northern New Jersey area, known to DOL as the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Census Region. The area ranked seventh nationwide in intensity of H1-B requests.
Samuel C. Berger, P.C. helps immigrants seeking visas to work for a New York or New Jersey business, and helps businesses petition for skilled immigrant employees. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today, contact us online or at (212) 380-8117.
The Search for Skills: Demand for H-1B Immigrant Workers in U.S. Metropolitan Areas (PDF), Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution, July 2012 (alternate source)
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New York Company Joins Federal Immigration Compliance Program, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2012
Immigration Reform on the Agenda for High-Tech Companies Lobbying Congress, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2012
Photo credit: ‘Downtown New York City from the Empire State Building June 2004’ by Quasipalm [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.