H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations for up to six years.
Obtaining an H-1B visa, which is allocated through a lottery system, has become increasingly hard in the past few years. The Department of Homeland Security currently caps the amount of H-1B visas granted at 65,000 per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for applicants with advanced degrees. Last year, DHS received an overwhelming 233,000 H-1B petitions in as little as a week; only a little over one-third of petitioners received one of the sought-after visas.
To be able to work during the
summers and after
graduation, students have the option of obtaining an
Optional Practical Training (OPT) permit, which confers a
12-month work allowance. Those who wish to continue working in the United
States after using the 12 months of work permitted by OPT have to
apply for an H-1B visa.
While the U.S.’s current policy makes it more accessible for foreigners to obtain an F1 visa to study in the United States, the current cap level and competition for H-1B visas makes it difficult for graduates to stay and work in the country after graduation.
Historical figures from DHS reports show that, while from 2014-16 H-1B visas hit the 65,000 cap within five to seven days after the filing period opened, it took more than six months for H-1B visas to reach the same cap from 2010 to 2012.