The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency which receives and determines the successful applications for H-1B visas, said yesterday that it received 199,000 H-1B applications for the 2018 fiscal year.
These applications were received in the first five days before USCIS stopped receiving the H-1B petitions.
The successful applicants have been decided on the basis of a computerised draw of lots.
USCIS, as per Congressional mandate can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas every year.
In addition, it can issue another 20,000 to those who have completed their higher education at a US university.
In 2017, USCIS had received 233,000 applications. In 2015 it had received 172,500 H-1B applications and 124,000 in 2014.
The USCIS gave no reason for the drop in H-1B visas this year as compared to the previous two years, but experts attributed this to the current rhetoric against it.
This years applications are “surprisingly low”, William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association told ‘San Francisco Chronicle’.
US President Donald Trump yesterday signed an executive order that would tighten the process of issuing the H-1B visas and seek a review of the system for creating an “entirely new structure” for awarding these visas.