- Almost four in 10 tech workers are negatively affected by the suspension of premium processing of H-1B visas, according to a Blind survey answered by 10,554 app users. While H-1B policy changes do not apply to 44% of those surveyed, only 18% feel unaffected by the suspension.
- Breaking down results by companies with responses from at least 100 employees, eBay and PayPal had the most impacted employees. More than half of respondents at both companies were affected by the processing changes.
- Respondents from Google, Facebook and Microsoft were the least impacted by the policy changes. Only 29% of respondents from Google were negatively affected.
H-1B policy changes come into focus at the start of a New Year in advance of the filing season. The H-1B lottery is set to open April 1, marking the start of a race to ensure visa petitions are submitted without error so workers can vie for an in-demand visa.
In recent years, tweaks to policy and rule changes have had a chilling effect on the visa program, making it more difficult to file petitions or respond to requests for evidence.
More changes are in sight this year as the Department of Homeland Security works on a rules revamp, which would flip the order of the H-1B lottery selection to prioritize U.S.-educated petitions. The agency is also working on an electronic registration system. If a petition is selected under the cap — which is set at 65,000 visas for the general cap and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemptions — then the agency would request physical, paper copies.
The timeline for potential rule changes is uncertain, leaving those set to file petitions in a difficult position. Tech workers are disproportionately affected because they hold the bulk of H-1B visas. From fiscal year 2007 through 2017, computer-related skill sets accounted for 59% of H-1B visas.