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.
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
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.