Key Difference – H1B Visa 2017 vs 2016
H1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations. Although there was no difference between H1B Visa 2017 and 2016 in terms of the number of visas granted, qualifications and regulations, an increasing demand for H1B Visa can be observed based on the escalation of the number of applications received over these two years. H1B Visa 2016 has received about 233,000 applications whereas H1B Visa 2017 has received about 236,000 visa applications.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is H1B
3. What is H1B Visa 2017
4. What is H1B Visa 2016
5. What are the Proposed Changes to H1B
6. Side by Side Comparison – H1B Visa 2017 vs 2016
What is H1B
H1B Visa is a US visa category for non-immigrants who are engaged in specialty occupations. This visa category is designed for foreign workers in the “specialty occupations” which require a combination of a theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge. Generally, professionals in different fields such as engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, architecture, biotechnology, medicine, education, law, accounting, business specialities, etc. can apply for a non-immigrant visa under H1B. However, it is important to note that this visa category only allows a foreigner to work in the USA for a period up to three years although this can be later extended to six years.
- The visa applicant must have a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited college or university.
- If the applicant holds a foreign degree, then that degree must be equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
- The applicant can also prove educational equivalence through a mixture of specialized training, progressive work experience and education. One year of college education is considered to be equivalent to three years of specialized.
- The position at the company needs to require a degree or its equivalent for that position.
- Applicant’s degree and/or experience must be in a specialized occupation category such as engineering, math, and business.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally starts calling for applications for H1B from the 1st of April. However, it is also important to note that individuals cannot file H1B for themselves; only employers who intend to hire foreign workers can apply on behalf of them.
USCIS started accepting applications for H1B 2016 from April 2015. This Visa category has an annual limit called “cap” for each fiscal year. Thus, H-1B cap is the maximum number of applications accepted by USCIS in one year, as authorized by the Congress. Quotas for this cap are as below.
65000 – Regular H1B Quota
20000 – USA Master’s Degree H-1B Quota
6800 – Reserved for Singaporean and Chilean specialty workers.
A total of 233,000 applications were filed for H1B 2016. On April 13, 2015, USCIS used a computer-generated program to randomly select the cap visas to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS started accepting applications for H1B 2017 from April 1, 2016. There was no difference between the quota for 2017 and 2016. The general H1B category consisted of 65,000 visas, and advanced category consisted of 20,000 visas. USCIS received over 236,000 applications, and a computer generated random selection process was used to meet the H1B 2017 Cap on April 9, 2016.
What are the Proposed Changes to H1B?
Various bills such as “High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017” and “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act” have proposed several reforms to H1B Visas. Some of these major proposed reforms are as below.
- Raising the minimum salaries of H1B Visas over $1, 00,000.
- Setting aside 20% of H-1B visas for small and start-up employers
- Eliminating ‘per country’ cap for employment visas to ensure equal distribution
- Firms hiring H1B visa holders should first make an effort to recruit Americans first; meaning that H1B holders should be hired only if American workers cannot fill the relevant position
- Eliminating the Master’s Degree exemption for dependent employers (employers with more than 15% of their workforce in H-1B status)
- Introducing strict audit and vetting by the Department of Labor to prevent fraud or misuse
The purpose of these reforms is to stop frauds and misuse in H1B visa systems and to prevent US employers from hiring cheaper foreign workers to replace American workers.
Although people who are hoping to work in the USA through H1B visa are confused and panicked about these reforms, it is important to note that these changes are still proposals. They will not affect H1B 2018 Visa at all.
What is the difference between H1B Visa 2017 and 2016?
H1B Visa 2017 vs 2016
|H1B Visa 2017 is for the fiscal year 2017.||H1B Visa 2016 is for the fiscal year 2016.|
|Applications were called on April 1st 2016.||Applications were called on April 1st 2015.|
|Selection process was performed on April 9, 2016.||Selection process was performed on April 13, 2016.|
|Number of Applications|
|USCIS received over 236,000 applications||USCIS received about 233,000 applications.|
Summary – H1B Visa 2017 vs 2016
H1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa for professionals in specialty fields and gives an opportunity for US employers to hire professionals from foreign countries. Applications for H1B Visa are called on April 1st every year. H1B 2016 Visa applications were called on April 2015 whereas H1B 2017 Visa applications were called on April 2016. There was no major difference between H1B 2017 and 2016 in terms of quota or criteria.
1. “USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2017.” USCIS. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
2. “USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2016.” USCIS. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 13 Apr. 2015. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
3. “H-1B Visa 2017 – Cap, Lottery Predictions, Fees, News |.” H1B wiki. N.p., 05 Jan. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
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