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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

USCIS May Be Drastically Shortchanging Employers Tens of Thousands of H-1B Approvals

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My friend David Rubman has been quietly pursuing data for months to confirm what he has long suspected - that USCIS is actually issuing far fewer than 85,000 H-1B approvals each year (65,000 for the regular cap and 20,000 for the masters cap). How is this possible? Because USCIS calculates how many H-1B applications it will accept based on estimates of the number of cases it will deny. And they appear to be way off in their estimates. H-1B denial rates have soared over the last few years, but USCIS has not seen fit to take more H-1B applications to account for the shift. And they're also supposed to add withdrawn or revoked H-1Bs back in to the mix.

USCIS ought to be reopening the application process when they err in their calculations. This year, the cap is going to be hit 15 months before the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2013). They will have plenty of time to count and reopen the application process. But under the existing system, when they announce the cap is hit in the next few days, the process will be over until USCIS starts taking applications for the next fiscal year.

The White House can't bypass Congress to increase H-1B numbers. But they can make sure that the entire quota is actually exhausted. According to David's calculations, as many as 20,000 H-1Bs per year have been wasted because of USCIS' secretive process for counting H-1B numbers.

USCIS likes to throw around the word "fraud" pretty loosely when it comes to how employers use the H-1B program, but wouldn't it be ironic if it turns out that the agency has been misleading Congress and the public regarding how many H-1B approvals it is issuing? It's about time USCIS opens up regarding how it is counting numbers and why they are not reopening the cap when it is found that additional numbers are available.


Rubman - Mayorkas cap letter

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  1. P Henry's Avatar
    Imagine if he put that much effort into finding jobs for Americans? Don't you feel like a traitor finding jobs for cheap, foreign slaves when so many Americans are out of work?
    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
    - Upton Sinclair
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    Well maybe some people have not heard of the skills gap in America the reason why the US needs skilled and unskilled immigrates is because employers can't find skilled workers, colleges can't keep up with demand or Americans won't do certain types of jobs. Maybe if you can look past your hate and nativism and think about( I am going to go out on a limb here and assume you can....) you can get why this is a problem for Immigrants, US employers and the US.
  3. VJ's Avatar
    Just an update: I have a masters from MIT and Columbia. Had two job offers from Fortune 100 companies. I went back after my graduation for family issues. I came back on J visa and worked for 3 years which expires in a month and I cannot extend. I was late by 1 day for my H1-B and my application could not be filed. So I sit unemployed for more than a year now. I have friends who have 2 employers filing for H1B and the quota is over. The next kind of people are foreign software employees who apply for H1B and work for just 3 months in a Client site and the H1B is useless! I am frustrated on what high-skilled workers mean?
  4. honest's Avatar
    My friend was on Pharm.D program (plus several US academic degrees)and he wanted to find internship right after graduation (about 6 years ago)during OPT and hoped to finish licensing exam because these internship hours are
    pre-licensing requirement before taking licensing exam. Originally he got several US employers to hire him on OPT to finish the internship for licensing requirement. However, his several US employers told him that if letting him finish his internship for licensing but without letting him work on H-1B visa will waste employer's time to train this employee. Therefore, all of his several US employers wanted to hire him on H-1B visa for both internship (for his licensing exam since he has passed some sections but only need some internship hours finish the last section exam) and for his regular job later. Once his H-1B visa was filed, his working visa was processed on the day the visa quota was full. Then to avoid illegal stay in US, he decided to back home without choice. Then right after back home, his home country pharmacy board asked for his US pharmacist license before letting him to take his home country's pharmacist licensing exam. Since he does NOT finish US licensing exam, he got stuck in his career and licensing exam in his home country too. RIGHT NOW HE WASTES HIS ENTIRE PHARM.D DEGREE.

    In Canada, all Pharmacy and Medicine graduates must have green card (permanent residency status) but in US, no green card is granted to those foreign students although Pharmacy and Medicine curriculum are both unique programs which are adhered to licenses specific to the country. So it is tough for foreign students if they DON'T have immigration status in US.
  5. honest's Avatar
    One more thing, personally I do think the immigration policy should be changed to allow foreign students who have both STEM degrees and licensing science & medical degrees TO BRING MONEY FOR IMMIGRATION. These will create more job opportunities in housing & construction industry, car industry, computer industry and education for new immigrants' kids etc. Money and knowledge are BOTH IMPORTANT FOR IMMIGRATION TO UPLIFT THE ECONOMY especially some foreign students who are from families with OVER one million US dollar cash and assets in their home countries AND ALSO WITH US SCIENCE DEGREES should be granted green card to BRING BOTH KNOWLEDGE & MONEY FOR IMMIGRATION----just my personal opinion!!
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