December 9, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

Easier work visas after Modi’s US visit? Indians always had lion’s share of H-1B

By Ankita Tiwari: The Joe Biden administration in the US has made it easier for Indians to live and work in the country in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit. The State Department has announced that a small number of Indians and other foreign workers on H-1B visas will now be able to renew those visas in the US, without having to travel abroad.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa category that enables US companies to employ foreign workers in specialised occupations.

Every year, the US government issues 65,000 H-1B visas to corporations. The visas last for three years and can be renewed for another three years.

India Today’s Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) analysed data from the last 10 years on how many H-1B visa petitions were approved. During that time, Indians received more than 60 per cent of H-1B visa approval every year.

In 2013, the US approved around 2.86 lakh H-1B visas, of which more than 1.87 lakh went to Indians — a 65.3 per cent approval rate. The number of Indians with H-1B visas has been steadily growing since then.

However, in 2018 and 2019, the number of approved visas for Indians fell significantly to about 2.43 lakh and 2.78 lakh respectively.

Then, in FY 2020, there was a 3.2 per cent increase in H-1B visa approvals, with Indians receiving about 3.19 lakh visas out of the 4.26 lakh visas approved globally.

According to the most recent data available from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (FY 2022), 72.6 per cent of H-1B visas were issued to Indians, approximately 3.20 lakh of the more than 4.41 lakh petitions approved in total.

The companies reportedly using the most H-1B workers in recent years include Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta, according to US government data.

ALSO READ | US to ease H-1B visa rules for skilled Indian workers | All you need to know


However, the situation with student visas in the US is quite different. These include an F1 visa, an M1 visa, and a J1 visa. The data for it is based on the fiscal year in the United States, which runs from October 1 to September 30.

According to data available from the US Department of State, in 2013, only 43 thousand petitions, or five per cent of student visas were approved for India, whereas around 8.58 lakh petitions were approved globally.

In 2017, only 7.1 per cent of US student visas were granted to Indians. In FY 2021 and 2022, there was a spike in Indian students getting US visas.

In 2021, more than 85,000 Indian students received US visas out of almost 5 lakh globally, bringing the share of Indians to little more than 17.4 per cent. In the following year, this number went up. A total of 1.26 lakh Indians received student visas among the total of 7 lakh, bringing the share up to 18 per cent.