H1B Visa Approval Trends, Top Industries, Top Countries FY 2007 to 2017

In H1B Visa News by Kumar38 Comments

As many of you are going through the H1B process and experiencing long delays, you maybe wondering, is it like this every year or something new…USCIS has recently released H1B receipt filings, approval rates and other key stats as part of the transparency under the Trump’s  Buy American Hire American Executive Order .  I have tried to put the graphs together from the available data in tables for everyone’s benefit.  Below are some of them.

H1B Approval Rates by year from FY 2007 to 2017.

USCIS gave data of receipts and approvals. I just computed the approval percentages. You can see the significant drop in H1B approvals percentage from average 87% to 59% last year for FY 2017.  Approximately, the average in all 10 years is around 75 to 80%, but it is dropped significantly last year to 60%.  Definitely, the data speaks about the tighter H1B visa adjudication process by USCIS.  All the graphs and data below is up until June 30 for FY 2017 at the time of publication of the article.

H1B Visa Approval Rate Trends 2007 to 2017 by USCIS

H1B Visa Filings by Country from FY 2007 to FY 2017

The below graph is pretty clear, India, China, Philippines & South Korea are the major beneficiaries of the program.  What it means is that, if the rules get tough under Trump administration, there is potential for more rejections for applicants filed under these countries.

H1B Visa Filings by Country 2007 to 2017 History USCIS Data

H1B Visa Applications by Industry FY 2007 to 2017 (Top 30)

The three major industries that utilize H1B program are Custom Computer Programming Services, Computer System Design Services and Colleges & Universities.  It is not surprising to see this as the major beneficiaries from the global IT outsourcing companies fall under these, except Universities.

H1B Visa Petitions Filing Trend by Industry Top 30 FY 2007 to 2017

USCIS Actual Data – Table Format

With these above stats and the new H1B Rules for H1B extensions, we can expect more delays, RFEs and stats may change for the upcoming years, both from approvals, industries, and countries.

What are your thoughts on the H1B Trends and Data ?  What is the future for H1B prospective holders ?

Reference : USCIS Forms Data & Reports  

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Comments ( 38 )

  1. Moulydharan

    What a foolish analysis. Admin please do not spread rumors. I understand that there is a significant increase in RFES. But this data is as of June 2017. Still so many cases are pending as of this data was released. But the petitions were received. So 59% is as of 2017 June and not for the entire fiscal year. At least put a disclaimer or note. This is so misleading.

  2. Emma

    Very interesting article. It’s interesting to have some statistics about the H1B. To go further in the H1B statistics, we examined the US Department of Labor data (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017) looking for the sponsors of business profiles, such as MBAs and other Masters.

  3. sumit shah

    Hi Kumar / Other members,
    i have an approved h1b petition from 2015 but was denied during stamping. another consultancy filed a cap expemt this year for my petition but they are not willing to upgrade to premium (i will be bearing that cost). they are saying that PP processing has come under double scrutiny since 2017 and chances of denial/rfe are high. they say uscis are placing the strictest of officers on PP cases. is that true?

    they are questioning genuine projects if filer is a consulting company specially internal projects.

    pls confirm.

    1. HH

      Who are “they” that you are referring here my friend? I think you are getting paranoid. You should do yoga and clear your brains you and attract some sense. It may also help you to get away from “they” that you are referring who constantly misleading you.

  4. Akkay

    Hey Kumar,
    I am working on an OPT issued on a F-1 student visa. I have requested my employer to file my H1B visa this April. I have plans to travel in January back to India. But my employer’s immigration attorneys mentioned that they do not suggest my travel as one should not for 90 days before the petition date. And if at all I want to they will file my H1B as ‘consular notification’ or ‘cable request’ and not as ‘change-of-status’. I don’t understand the consequences of this. Can you tell me what should I do? One of my friend working in another organization( his attorney doesn’t have any problem with his travel during february). I don’t understand what’s happening? Can you guide what should I do?

    1. Rafiq

      After your H1b is filed in April and you get receipt notice, its not advisable to travel outside the country before H1b approval. The reason being at the time of approval you should be in states to qualify for “change of status” and thereby issuance of i94 to continue your stay in US. If your H1b is approved while outside the country then you have to get visa stamping and renter because your change of status is abandoned. My understanding is that you have not even filed for H1b. If so there is no issue in travelling outside the country in January provided you have a valid F1b stamping, Proof of employment and valid i20 signed from student advisor.

  5. Aspirant

    Aspirant

    Hi Admin,
    I have H1B stamp in my old passport ,but I have not traveled yet on that H1. For some reason, I have to travel as dependent and have to go for H4 stamping , this will be with my new passport.Though passport differs in DS160 I have mentioned the H1B visa details. I have a plan to find another employer after traveling to US on H4 and transfer H1 to next employer and start working. My worry is if I go for H4, is there a possibility that H1B will be cancelled ? Also, if VO asks whether I am planning to work in US with my H1B , what is the safest answer so that my H1B will not be affected?Is COS applicable in my case. Appreciate quick response as my visa interview is scheduled in following days.

    1. Rafiq

      VO will question on your current visa that your are seeking admission on. Understand the basic requirements of each class of visa that you are applying and be honest (H4-cannot work!). If your H4 is approved I dont think your H1b will be cancelled however it will be deactivated. If you are in US on H4, you should do change of status to H1. Remember that you have to have a job offer if you have to be in H1b. If you have a valid H1b stamp, then its a safer option to find a project and travel on that visa. Due to exploitation of indian software companies and low prevailing wages they pay, its lot tougher for contractors/service providing companies.

      1. Aparna

        Thanks for the reply. Even if not traveled once, is still COS required once I am on H4 in US and start to look for employer with current H1B ?

        1. Rafiq

          If you already have valid H1b stamping it’s much easier to travel in that if you find a project.. h4 entry is easier but moving back to H1b is a big hassle! Weigh what’s your immediate priority and decide. Good luck!

  6. Lokeeki

    Hi All,
    I came to USA 6months back and i have transferred my h1b visa to new employer on premium processing and got approved. My employer specially told me to go out of country and come back with the new employer details as he told some conflict exists and no need of stamping as i have validity. Is it required to go out of country. please suggest, any possibility of rejections? Out of country means can i go back to india too.

    1. Rafiq

      After you transferred to new employer did you get i94 in i797-A approval notice? i94 will let you know if you could stay without exiting the country or not.. when you are with new employer and have valid h1b stamping with old employer, you can still travel provided you have the form i797A approval notice of new petitioner that needs to be shown in port of entry if they ask for. However, Its always safe to get new stamping for employer even if old one is not expired.

  7. Aspirant

    Hi Kumar,
    I have H1B stamp in my old passport ,but I have not traveled yet on that H1. For some reason, I have to travel as dependent and have to go for H4 stamping , this will be with my new passport.Though passport differs in DS160 I have mentioned the H1B visa details. I have a plan to find another employer after traveling to US on H4 and transfer H1 to next employer and start working. My worry is if I go for H4, is there a possibility that H1B will be cancelled ? Also, if VO asks whether I am planning to work in US with my H1B , what is the safest answer so that my H1B will not be affected?Is COS applicable in my case. Appreciate quick response as my visa interview is scheduled in following days.

  8. Al

    What is meant my “Approved”? Is that approved as in selected in the lottery or approved later in the processing?

    I ask because the “Approved” numbers you show (e.g. 197,129 in FY2017) are way over the 65,000 + 20,000 quota.

    1. Sam

      approved is petition approval later in the process.

      The reason why it is way over is because that includes extension, transfer and others from previous FY, and also the cap exempt h1b for higher education, research, etc are included in those numbers.

    2. Al

      I meant to say that the Approved number after subtracting the “Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools” which are cap-exempt. The numbers still are way over the cap.

      Are there more avenues for cap exemption?

  9. Thoran

    What is the standard time for USICS (California Centre) to process RFE’s?
    My RFE Response was received on October 24th, no change in status since then. Should I wait for another month or 2?

  10. Peter

    The data of 2018 is a summary as the data 6/31/2017, a lot of h1bs were not approved at that time.
    The final number should be higher

  11. Rammy

    What are your thoughts on the H1B Trends and Data ?
    In short, the party is over folks! Better to look elsewhere.

    What is the future for H1B prospective holders ?
    One word, bleak! Green Card for Indian birth certificate has come to a screeching halt. Unless you are an international manager, you are not going to get it in this lifetime!

    Summing it up. You can either choose to look for prospects outside USA or come join the misery. USA may be the best country to immigrate in terms of opportunities but not for people who have Indian birth certificates.

    1. Rafiq

      Everything is a ripple effect. For several years the Indian software companies have given opportunity for many aspiring professionals however has exploited the “Specialty occupation” class of H1b by providing very low prevailing wages. The skill would be there however the prevailing wages should also be higher which companies cannot afford due to their profit margin. Another exploitation is why would a manager working for a Indian company living in US be eligible to apply under EB1 quota for green card? does’nt make sense.. Green card should be for people who live in US and primarily working for US companies as full time with satisfying prevailing wages. The immigration system is broken and it would get worse if they don’t take any action.

  12. mihir hapaliya

    Hi Kumar,

    I have H1B Petition approved in last year oct 2016. Its more than a year now . stamping is getting delayed and I don’t know when it is going to be happened.
    I don’t have much idea on H1B. I only heard from my employer is that my petition validity is 2.6 year.

    What if my petition gets expired before the stamping. Do I need to go through lottery again ?

    Whats the validity of H1b?

    How H1b visa validity is calculated ? Is it from stamping date or from petition approved date ?

    1. Ram

      If your H1B visa is expired before stamping, you can apply for extension and get it approved. Then go for stamping. The six year clock starts only from the day you land in USA. The time you are missing now, can be got back once you are in USA.
      What if my petition gets expired before the stamping. Do I need to go through lottery again?
      Need not. You can file Cap exempt extension and get the visa approved& stamped.
      Whats the validity of H1b?
      H1b is for 6 years and the clock starts the day you land in USA.
      How H1b visa validity is calculated ? Is it from stamping date or from petition approved date ?
      H1B validity for stamping is based on the date in your approval notice. The stay duration is 6 years and that clock starts from the day you land in USA.
      As visa validity expires, you can extend it to max 6 years.

      1. Valaji

        H1b Visa is valid for 3 yrs post which it can be extended for additional 3 yrs(it requires stamping only & no need to go through lottery as u did for the first time). Thats why it’s said to be valid for 6 yrs assuming that extension will b granted for sure & I believe the extension always gets approved . After 6 yrs you either have to again go through lottery to get a new h1b Visa or if your employer applies green card for you. You will have a valid status to stay in us till the green card process is under way. That’s my understanding

  13. Guru

    I have been visiting your website for more than 5 years now. You guys are awesome. Hope you update on issa bill which was approved by committee on Nov 15th

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Thanks Guru. It is too early to write detail info on this because, it is just approved by a committee, but nothing more than that. We have many bills around the same status in House as listed at H1B Visa Bills – Status . We will post more as it moves to certain stage.

  14. Prashanth

    Hi,

    What I meant to ask was if I-129 petition has been denied by USICS, is there any chance if my employer files an appeal.

    Thanks
    Prashanth

  15. Prashanth

    Hi Kumar,

    Can you please tell what are the chances if the I-140 petition has been denied by USCIS. Will the status change if the employer files an appeal? Please let me know.

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Prashanth,
      Everything depends on the case and it is very hard to give a generic answer. No one can tell you, even you attorney on the chances…all you can do is do everything right and hope for the best.

  16. Arsal

    Is this 59% approval rate for 2017 expected to increase AFTER all current RFEs are resolved? Or this %age is only taking into account the resolved cases.

  17. Bala

    For H1B approved cases this year(2017), what is the probability of success in interview. As there has been a lot of rejection in interview stage in past.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Bala,
      It is very hard to say, everything depending on the case, all you can do is have proper documentation and be confident. Yes, there is definitely more scrutiny than in the past.

  18. Charles

    Are there stats on # of RFEs compared to years past and how many of those result in approvals or rejections? My employer got an RFE for my position. I’m curious what that means for my chances. I’m applying from Canada.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Charles,
      No, that data is not available. Usually, such stats are not published usually. AILA requested some data in the past under FOIA, to get such info. But, nothing current.

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