How Has the Number of H1B Visas Issued Annually Changed?

The United States offers less than half the number of high-skill (H-1B) visas that it did in 2001 — the 2001 total of 195,000 a year has dropped to 65,000. H-1B visas are required for foreign nationals who have a bachelor's degree and wish to work in "specialty occupations" such as engineering, education, theology or law, and allows them to stay for up to six years. Interestingly, those wishing to become fashion models in the U.S. also must file for an H-1B visa, but they do not have to have a bachelor's degree.

More immigration statistics:

  • The U.S. is not the only country that limits immigration — the United Kingdom has also lowered its quota for general skilled workers, and it grants less than 6,000 general, highly skilled migrant visas.

  • About 40 percent of H-1B visas go to Asians — people from India in particular — who receive 25 percent of all H-1B visas. Europeans account for around an additional 25 percent, as do those from North America. The remaining 10 percent or so go to those from other countries.

  • The H-1B visa is one of the most popular to apply for. It is a dual-intent visa, so that the person who holds it can apply for a green card, or permanent residency, while on an H-1B.

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