Securing an H-1B visa may be a lottery drawn process, but the prospect of winning the lottery looks more promising for applicants holding a master’s degree from US-based universities. In keeping with the current political regime’s diktat of ‘Buy American and Hire American’, the existing visa processing rules are likely to be tweaked, literally flipped, in the ensuing year (April 2019).
The H-1B visa, which acts as the calling card for Indian software engineers to pursue their American dream, with the Indian IT workforce comprising 60% of the overall allocation of 85,000 H-1B visas, is likely to undergo the following administrative and procedural changes.
- Mandatory electronic preregistration with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) –for all H-1B visa applicants
- Reversion of the visa selection process (general quota, additional quota)
Though the impending changes in the visa processing rules are aimed at promoting local employment, the proposed changes are likely to tilt the scale in favor of applicants holding graduate degrees from US universities. All online registrants will be eligible to be a part of the lottery based visa selection process. Bringing cheer to US qualified graduates, the major thrust of the change is the reversal of the visa selection process.
The current selection comprises processing through two lottery quotas: the additional quota (25,000 H1-B visas), where all graduates and other advanced degree holders are considered, followed by the general quota (65,000), where those graduates and advanced degree holders who failed to make the cut in the additional quota are reconsidered along with undergrads. This type of selection process meant that graduates had a small window to compete (25,000) in the first run, followed by competing with undergrads in the second run (65,000), tilting the odds in favor of the undergrad.
The proposed reversal of selection process is aimed at benefitting graduate students significantly, by increasing their probability of getting the much coveted H-1B visas. Under the revised selection process, all online registrants (undergrads, grads etc.) are scheduled to be a part of the general quota (65,000). Those graduates missing out on selection in the general quota will have the option of being considered for selection through the additional quota.
In spite of there not being any raise in the visa cap per se, the proposed new rule augurs well for graduates, by providing them with a golden opportunity to be significant beneficiaries of the change in processing rules of H-1B visas.
For those undergrads desirous of pursuing a career in the land of Silicon Valley, this is the most opportune time to pursue and complete their graduate studies from US-based universities. Collegepond, one of the leading study abroad consultants with a track record of 97% admit rates, including Ivy League schools, is a pioneer in counseling, grooming and preparing aspiring graduates to embark on the most decisive phase of their academic journeys.
Aiming for an H-1B may be a tall order for undergrads, but Collegepond with its counselling and mentoring abilities has always ensured that the prospect of acquiring the much-coveted visa is always -within striking distance!