Indians are frantically searching for “work visa” and “H-1B visa” on a US job portal

Image: Reuters/Babu
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Search for visa-related terms by those seeking US jobs, especially Indians, saw an unusual spike last year.

Searches for US jobs, using terms like “work visa,” “H1B visa,” “H1-B visa,” “H2B visa,” “H2-B visa,” “immigration visa,” “immigrant visa,” and “employment visa,” rose 673% between September 2017 and September 2018, jobs listings site Indeed found. It looked at US searches, meaning job seeker searches on for the US or the US platform.

“The surge in visa-related searches probably reflects the 2018 policy changes, which made acquiring a US work visa more complex,” the portal said.

Overall searches
Overall searches.
Image: Indeed

Since president Donald Trump took office in 2016, the criteria for the H-1B, the visa that lets foreigners live and work in the US for up to six years, has become more rigid and tough. Not surprisingly, rejections in this category have soared, often citing unknown or baseless reasons. Lawyers have been fighting to get these rejections overturned.

Naturally, foreigners’ prime concern is to find employers who will sponsor them and provide security.

Foreign searches
Foreign searches.
Image: Indeed

While some of the searches came from within the US—likely students or working professionals looking to change jobs—an overwhelming share comes from abroad. By August 2019, this share had nearly doubled compared to two years ago. The proportion of visa-related searches from abroad peaked in November 2018 to 88.2%.

Most of these searches—one in five—came from India on average last year. After all, Indians do bag the majority of H-1B visas each year, so such policy changes would bother them the most. Moreover, the Trump administration has even proposed to restrict the share of Indian recipients between 10% and 15%.