Despite President Donald Trump’s frequent and public criticism of the H-1B visa program, new data released shows applicants are undeterred.
The U.S. government has received more than 300,000 H-1B visa petitions and extensions so far this year, according to data released last Wednesday by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, compared with a total of 399,349 in all of 2016. A little more than 58 percent of those were approved, a rate considerably lower than that of 2016, when 87 percent were approved.
This shift comes after USCIS announced in April that it would crack down on H-1B fraud and abuse. The department said it would focus on cases in which companies rely heavily on H-1B employees and employers who petition to have H-1B employees work off-site.
President Trump has been critical of the visas. “The H-1B program is neither high skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay,” he said