H1Bs and American Jobs – 2021 Update

H1Bs and American Jobs – 2021 Update

H1B controversies have made headlines over the last handful of years, as new enforcement standards led to added stress. While there was a successful pushback against them, there’s no question it made the visa approval process more difficult. While the law is unchanged, our business has seen employers become hesitant to consider candidates requiring sponsorship, even if it’s just a transfer.

The question the entire controversy hinges on is whether restricting H1B visas leads to more hired Americans.

Working Professionals
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Visa Downsizing

To answer this, we need to go back to 2004. That year, the number of available visas went from 195,000 to 85,000. While it didn’t get the same level of attention, this was the most significant change to the H1B program in the last 20 years. A recent study analyzed the program from that date forward to find the result of H1B restrictions on American tech jobs.

The study found that for every ten unfilled H1B position:

  • An average of three went overseas
  • For the other seven, most work was distributed internally, outsourced to third parties, or covered by industry-university partnerships.
  • A small fraction of the work was eventually filled with new American hires.

This isn’t a surprise to those of us who work in tech recruiting. As mentioned in an earlier video, we’re facing a shortage of skilled talent in the United States. For those coming into the market, nearly half of all STEM-related college graduates are foreign students. There isn’t a functional immigration process in place for them, so they wind up in the H1B program.

Lottery Longshot

Today, H1B applicants have the worst odds ever to get sponsored. The 2021 lottery pool has around 308,000 applicants, and only 85,000 will get the visa. We’re sending talent we need out of the country, and it isn’t resulting in the hiring of more Americans. The problem will continue to snowball if we can’t figure out how to set the myths aside and create a real solution.

PRA USA has provided recruiting and hiring solutions for 30+ years, with a focus on Electronic, Embedded, and Controls technologies. We put our market knowledge to work for our candidates and clients, to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed in the modern job market. Contact us to discover how we can do the same for you.

PRA USA has provided recruiting and hiring solutions for 30+ years, with a focus on Electronic, Embedded, and Controls technologies. We put our market knowledge to work for our candidates and clients, to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed in the modern job market. Contact us to discover how we can do the same for you.



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