ADVERTISEMENT

H-1B hires switching jobs at record rates: US think tank

Job changes among H-1B visa holders are increasing, jumping from around 24,000 in 2005 to a record 130,576 in 2022, a more than fivefold rise.

Representative image / Image - Unsplash

H-1B visa holders in the United States are increasingly transitioning to new jobs, reaching a record number in 2022. 

David J. Bier, director of Immigration Studies at the Cato Institute, citing a USCIS report, in his blog found that H-1B workers changed jobs over 1 million times (1,090,890) between 2005 and 2023.

Job changes among H-1B visa holders are increasing, jumping from around 24,000 in 2005 to a record 130,576 in 2022, a more than fivefold rise. There was a slight decline in 2023, with 117,153 worker switches.
 

Image- USCIS / Report on H1-B petitions

Bier attributed the increase in job changes among H-1B workers to several factors including policy adjustments and an expanding pool of H-1B workers. A   tighter labor market overall has spurred greater worker mobility across industries. 

Additionally, the expanding number of H-1B workers in the US has created a larger talent pool for companies to recruit from. With the H-1B visa cap consistently being reached each year since 2014, employers are more inclined to target H-1B workers who are already authorized to work in the US, effectively 'poaching' talent from competitors. 

Notably, a policy change in 2017 that extended the grace period to 60 days for H-1B workers to secure a new job after losing their current one is also considered a contributing factor.

Finally, a surge in green card applications in 2021 may have also influenced the trend. Once H-1B workers file a green card application, they gain more flexibility to switch jobs without their employer needing to restart the green card process.

However, the number of pending green card applications declined in 2022, indicating that this is just one aspect of the situation.

Despite the increased mobility, Bier underscores the persistent challenges for H-1B workers. New employers hiring H-1B workers from other companies encounter substantial fees, and a backlog in green card processing, particularly affecting Indian workers, can create incentives to remain with the initial sponsoring employer.

Bier proposes that automatically converting H-1B status to green cards after a certain period, rather than necessitating renewals, could offer a solution to the ever expanding backlog.


 

Comments

ADVERTISEMENT

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

 

E Paper