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Surprising Findings in New H-1B Visa Numbers

June 06, 2017 (1 min read)

Stuart Anderson, National Foundation for American Policy, June 5, 2017 - "The top 7 Indian-based companies received only 9,356 new H-1B petitions for initial employment in FY 2016, a surprising drop of 37 percent between FY 2015 and FY 2016, based on an analysis of government data obtained by the National Foundation for American Policy(NFAP), an Arlington, Va.-based policy research group. ... The 9,356 new H-1B petitions for the top 7 Indian-based companies approved in FY 2016 represent only 0.006 percent of the U.S. labor force. That is a drop of 5,436 approved petitions (37 percent) for initial employment for the 7 companies from FY 2015. While the threat of job loss has long been exaggerated by critics, it reaches illogical proportions when discussing fewer than 10,000 workers in an economy that employs 160 million workers nationwide. ... During the background briefing on the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, a Trump administration official told reporters that “about 80 percent of H-1B workers are paid less than the median wage in their fields.” This statistic is misleading as it relies on a Department of Labor database that includes multiple applications for the same individuals, since a new filing is generally required when an H-1B professional moves to a new area. That means it “double or triple counts anyone who works in more than one geographic location (primarily younger workers sent to multiple offices).” Moreover, it may not reflect what employers actually pay individual workers, only the minimum required to be listed for government filing purposes. The median salary in 2015 for H-1B computer-related recipients who have worked about three years (listed as “continuing employment” in DHS data) was about $7,000 higher than the median salary in the industry."