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Ever since the new administration came to office, a higher level of scrutiny has been applied to H-1B visas by USCIS through increasingly frequent Request For Evidence (RFE) and close scrutiny over wage level 1 positions.

On April 11, USCIS conducted two lotteries for H-1B cap cases filed for FY 2019, and has begun to send out receipt notices for those cases that have been selected through the lottery process.  Past trends have shown that computer-related occupations dominated H-1B filings, and according to a recent report released by the Department of Labor (DOL), it appears that this trend is still continuing, although not as significantly as previous years.

In FY 2018, it appears that computer-related occupations made up approximately 55% of all Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) which must be submitted and certified by the DOL before any H-1B application can be filed with USCIS. Financial analysts/accountant occupations compromise of an approximate 12% of LCAs received by DOL, while the remaining 33% included all other occupations including non-computer related engineers, market research analysts, etc.

While the statistics from DOL show that more than half of the H-1B filings in FY 2018 were for computer-related occupations, this is still 15% less than FY 2014, when computer-related occupations comprised of 70% of LCAs.

In terms of employers, Ernst and Young alone occupies 16.9% of all the H-1B positions, followed by other computer-related and financial companies such as Cognizant Technology Solutions, US Corp, Apple, Inc. and Amazon Fulfillment Services, Inc.

With about twice the number of the petitions submitted than the cap number, all parties should be mindful of these past reports and plan their employment in line with recent trends. The takeaways from the statistics are as following:

  • Employers should self-assess whether they are in the type of industry/business that is conducive to employment-based visas.
  • Employers must remember that a match between the candidate’s academic background and the offered opposition is one of the key factors that USCIS will carefully scrutinize.
  • Students should choose careers in contemplation of the requirement and the recent trend of the H-1B specialty occupation.
  • In additional to the generic title of the position, employers should be ready to provide details of the work, knowledge and skills required to establish that the position is a specialized occupation.

Self-assessment and pre-planning are important so that students and employers do not waste any resources or time in an employment relationship, which cannot consummate due to the lack of an appropriate visa.