President Donald Trump has ordered a comprehensive review of the H-1B visa program, the primary way that companies in the United States hire high-skilled foreign workers. The multiagency review is expected to result in suggested changes to ensure that the most skilled and highest-paid applicants receive H-1B visas. Though the order may be the first step in an overhaul of the program, only a handful of changes have been made for now to the way H-1B visas are awarded.
Here are some key facts about the current H-1B visa program.
1. Since 2005, H-1B visas have been capped at 65,000 a year, plus an additional 20,000 visas for foreigners with a graduate degree from a U.S. academic institution.
2. Demand for H-1B workers has boomed in recent years.
3. Universities and colleges, nonprofits and government research institutions are exempted from the cap.
4. More than half of all H-1B visas have been awarded to Indian nationals.
5. More than half of all H-1B visa approvals in fiscal 2013 went to employers in four states. California (17.7%), New Jersey (14.0%), Texas (12.2%) and New York (7.2%).
6. About two-thirds (64%) of H-1B visa requests in fiscal 2011 were for occupations in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
7. One-in-four H-1B visa requests in fiscal 2011 were for occupations commonly staffed by workers with an associate’s degree
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