Nonimmigrants to USA H1B, F1 DHS Report. Recession Impact Analysis

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 4 Comments

Department of Homeland Security released a report on April 30th with all the data on the Nonimmigrant workers flow in the year 2009 and comparison with previous years. I will share some of my thoughts on the report in terms of H1B visa and F1 Visa and how recessions had an impact in this article.

Recession Impact Analysis and Behavior of H1B and F1 Visa holders entering US :

I believe, the best way to do analysis is by presenting data. I have collected data from DHS site and did a custom data plot to focus on F, H and L visas. The data is based on the Office of immigration Statistics, which tracks the I-94s given to non-immigrants entering United States.  They give classification of way too many visas, but fundamentally I am focusing on F1, H1 and L1 visas and their dependents on F2, H4 and L2 visas. If you look at the graph below, you can see that the inflow of F1 Students is increasing with recession, but the inflow of H1B visa holders is decreasing and same is the case with L1 visa holders.  Just look at the trend between 2007 and 2009. You can see the same trend for FY 2011 H1b visa filing Cap count updates.

Nonimmigrant H1B visas F1 visa DHS report Recession impact Analysis Statistics

Analysis on the Trend of H1B, F1 and L1 visas :

Firstly, the decrease in volume of H1B visa holders entering US is very obvious : major reason is recession and adding to it, around 10 percent unemployment in US. Moreover, with the new H1B visa 2011 rules and Port of Entry issues, it is not very encouraging environment for H1B visa petition applicants. The same can be applied to L1 visa holders because, if companies are not doing many   projects or giving off shore vendors an opportunity, there will be less people entering US on L1 visa.  The interesting thing is F1 visa holders are increasing with recession.  Why ?  Well, if someone says, US is more attractive for working after  MS or MBA, I will not agree with them because of new rules and ailing economy.  On the same lines, if someone says, students are more attracted to US education since 2007, I disagree with that fact too because, it does not work that way. Personally, I think the reality is,  if you cannot get a job in your home country with recession and looking to pursue higher education, students are mote tempted to opt for US because of the fact that US seems more attractive. Also, even though students read all these in news, the perception of US is completely different for students in other countries. In fact, I was in the same boat. Also, students have seen success of their seniors, friends and family who have succeeded in US…so, it is very tempting to choose US when you do not have enough jobs in your home country and would like to purse higher education.  Also, OPT is valid for 29 months if you are from STEM category, which is tempting because in worst case scenario, you can work for 29 months and at least break even or make some decent money and go back to your home country.

What do you all think ?

DHS Plot on Nonimmigrant Visa holders entering US from 1989 – 2009

H1B and other work visa holders decline in US with Recession

References : Full Credit to original Data  collection and Reports : Nonimmigrant Admissions to United States 2009 and DHS year book of Immigration Statistics . Custom plot of trend using original Data from DHS tables released to Public.


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Comments ( 4 )

  1. Aline

    Well, I have to say I don’t agree with your idea of USA being more attractive. FOr most of international students it is more expensive living here than in their home country, plus most of the Academic Students on a F1 visa, are not allowed to work unless they get an EAD, but that is expensive and if you get denied they’ll revocate their students visa, it is not even worth the risk. They are onyl allowed to work up to 20 hours a week on-campus and when school is not in session up to 4o hours off campus. SO they live of their parents home, they pay taxes, and bring money generate in another country to the USA. So the thing is if international students on a Academic visa come to the USA there are not here for employment unless they are doing illegaly, they are here to persuit a higher education and later who knows get a diferent visa and work in the USA.

    1. D D

      I am sorry to disagree with you on this matter, Aline. The reason I (and my friends) came to USA for higher education was the scope and breadth of research opportunities available and also the variety and the flexibility in the courses that I can take, which develops your whole personality.

      I completely agree that international students find it is quite expensive here than in their home country, but for those students who get scholarships, fellowships and other funding due to their good academics/research work and potential, find it quite managable to survive here! With the salary they earn with 20 hours/week job on-campus, they can live a decent social life and pay for their living, food and other monthly expenses. Tuition fees are either completely or partly waived due to the scholarships I mentioned.

      By working up to 40 hours/week during co-ops and internships (for up to 12 months) (on CPT – Curricular Practical Training, which is part of their F-1 Student Status – they do not need to go through any complex formalities – no EAD required), they can pay off the remaining part of their tuition fees.

      Many students (incl. US citizens) apply for loans for paying for grad school. I agree that repaying the loan may prove troublesome. However, post graduation, if they get a job in a reputed company, international students can work on OPT (Optional Practical Training) for up to 12 months (in some cases, 29 months) by applying for EAD card. Applying for EAD card is not expensive (only $340 or so – when they will be earning more than that in a week, $340 is worth it for paying for 12 months’ salary). Also, chances of EAD card getting denied are less if the company is reputed, student has good standing etc.

      All these forms of scholarships, employments are completely legal. I do not see anything illegal about this! Also, they don’t need to apply for a ‘different visa’, like you mentioned. Of course, all this applies to ‘good’ students (since they are the ones who are actually interested in academics, research and hence they are the ones who get scholarships and co-ops, internships and full-time jobs). Others just find it difficult to get all this and hence find it ‘expensive’ (and end up grumbling)!

  2. D D

    Well, one reason for students to come to the US on F-1 visa for advanced degrees right now (even though the US is in recession) is: they are aware that the US is hit badly by recession and people have lost jobs. But, they are being optimistic and assume that in the next couple of years, the recession will get over and jobs will be available. This is when they will graduate. So by the time they graduate, the job market will be in need of skilled workers like them! Some international students I met with have voiced this opinion.

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