Despite backlash, H1B applications rain down on US Labor Dept

How fierce is the demand for the H1B visas minus the yearly 65,000 cap?

324,255 applications received by the US Department of Labor in the first three months of 2017 is a number we can start with. A total of 386,173 applications have been “foreign labor certified” in the first two quarters of FY 2017 alone.

This means they’re good to go for the next endurance test at Department of Homeland Security and then onto the final handstand - the lottery.

No let up in the rash of H1B applications / Reuters

No let up in the rash of H1B applications / Reuters

“Remember that this is the universe of applications received not to be confused with the final cap of 65,000 which is not controlled by us. That is decided by the USCIS,” DoL’s Egan Reich clarifies on numbers reported here.

That none of the forms can be submitted more than six months before the start date of employments suggest at least two simplistic metrics (at least for the applications that make the cut) - that these jobs and employers exist in the U.S. and H1B sponsors either in India or elsewhere are willing to foot the hefty lawyer fees for filing these cartloads of applications.

To be technically precise, these are called Labour Condition Application forms which need to be waved in by Department of Labour before they are looped back to the Department of Homeland Security and only after that are they thrown into the H1B lottery roulette.

The annual cap on H1Bs was 195,000 in 2001-2003, the lottery began as recently as 2013, in Barack Obama’s second term. Nearly 70% of H1B visas for highly skilled jobs go to Indians, reports The Economist.

Also read: Who's rooting for the H1B reboot?

The Department of Labor received a total of 407,422 applications in the first two quarters of FY 2017.

olfcIt’s far harder to get numbers from the USCIS which is one of the reasons why DoL data is quoted far more; also, the DoL applications data give us a good idea of the supply side thirst for the H1B.

Despite the volume of LCA forms that land in the DoL, the turnaround time is fairly stiff - seven days for an initial word on obvious errors or inaccuracies.

DoL insiders dealing with H1B paperwork say political decision makers have not yet arrived on the scene. “Not yet, at least.”

Yet, in barely one quarter, there’s also been a marked spike in the number of HIB applications that the US Department of Labor (DoL) has “denied”.

According to latest data, from a total of 5,512 applications denied in the first two quarters of FY 2017, the months of January - March 2017 have seen 2774 more H1B application denials than in Q1 which is October to December 2016 - the US financial year for federal government begins October 1. The second quarter has also witnessed a rise in the number of applications that have been pouring into the DoL mailbox.

There’s a similar uptick in the number of cases where the application was “withdrawn” - 11,758 in the first quarter compared with 16,993 in Q2.

By location, California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C, Massachusetts and Florida are the top locations from where applications have got the DoL green light. Apart from California in the West Coast and Texas in central America, all other locations fall into the

Taken together, computer systems analysts, software developers and computer programmers corner the lion’s share of “foreign labor certified” applications.

Basis the percentage of total foreign labor certifications from DoL, these are the top 10 employers for Q1 and Q2 2017 - not to be confused with the top 10 after the H1B lottery, which follows after this certification process:

Deloitte Consulting LLP
Cognizant Technology Solutions US.
Apple Inc
Deloitte and Touche
HCL America
CapGemini America Inc

Twitter | @byniknat

Updated Date: May 10, 2017 02:55 AM

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