- Searches for visa-related jobs on Indeed.com jumped 673% from September 2017 to September 2018, according to the job platform showed. Job searches using terms such as "work visa" or "H1B visa" peaked in November 2018, coinciding with the tightening of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, said Indeed.
- The data also showed that in 2018, India was the source of 22% of visa searches, on average, and the recipient of 63% of approved H-1B visas in 2017. Indeed said that visa-related searches from inside the U.S. were likely from people already in the U.S. on work visas or foreign students.
- "We cannot say for sure whether the uptick in searches was from job seekers applying for a US work visa, in the midst of visa processing, or whose applications had been denied," the Indeed report noted. "Whatever the status of the job seekers, these policy changes appear to have prompted them to pick up their searches for employers that might sponsor visas."
Indeed noted that the slowdown in visa searches after the November 2018 peak could have been driven by President Donald Trump's 2017 Buy American and Hire American executive order, which came into full force in 2018. Other changes to the H-1B visa process followed, including the suspension of H-1B visa premium processing. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also has proposed a $10 fee per registration for H-1B applications to make up for the what DHS described as increasing processing costs. The comment period for the proposal ended Oct. 4.
In January, DHS issued a final rule that reverses the order by which USCIS selected H-1B petitions for the 65,000 H-1B allotment and the advanced-degree exemption, which sets aside an additional 20,000 visas. Employers have long been frustrated by the already complex H-1B processing method, and with the possibility of more changes on the way, that frustration will likely continue.
There's more bad news for U.S. businesses looking to hire skilled foreign nationals; H-1B visa denials are up by wide margins, according to research results released in April from the National Foundation for American Policy. If the number of visa denials continues to grow, employers may feel further challenged by the talent shortage.