H1B Visa 2019 Predictions – Can Applications Reach 300,000 This Year?

By now, you should have submitted all the required documentation to the Attorney to apply for H1B Visa 2019. Now, you are wondering about H1B Visa 2019 Predictions.

Scouring through internet, blogs and Facebook Groups to get any bit of information about chances of getting selected in the H1B Visa 2019 lottery.

You spend the days and restless nights reluctantly looking for the latest H1B Visa 2019 news from USCIS about possible suspension of Premium Processing announcement.

As I stated three Major Challenges with H1B Visa 2019 process this season:

  1. Getting selected in the lottery
  2. Getting H1B Visa approval
  3. Getting H1B Visa stamping

Apart from the these three major challenges, there’s other layers of challenges specific to each individual and here’s some individual scenario I can think of

  • Working as Contractor (Employer-Vendor-Vendor-Vendor-Client)
  • H1B Visa filed by IT Services Company for employee located outside USA
  • H1B Visa applied while on Day 1 CPT University (after exhausting OPT or STEM OPT)
  • Last year H1B Denied after RFE (currently on STEM OPT)
  • Last time to apply for H1B Visa before OPT or STEM OPT time runs out
  • Applying for H1B while working on H4 EAD

After you over come these challenges – General and your situation specific, you are still at the mercy of the computer randomly selecting the applications.

Factors Influencing H1B Visa Applications

Here’s some of the factors influencing the number of H1B Visa applications

  1. H1B Visa Policies
  2. Economy and the Job Market
  3. Outsourcing Firms Based in India (yes)
  4. Applicants at their last year of STEM OPT
  5. H4 EAD holders applying for H1B Visa as a backup
  6. Employer’s willingness to file H1B without End Client Projects

H1B Visa New Rules and Executive Order

There’s no changes to H1B Visa Law, but Rules have changed with USICS Memo as part of President Trump’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order.

Another law that was considered would had a drastic impact – Cancellation of H1B Visa Extension beyond 6 years limit. The idea was dropped after opposition from Tech companies and Congress Members.

Factors Impacting H1B Applications

In order to accurately predict the number of H1B Visa 2019 applications, I have looked at various factors in the past like:

  1. Traffic to H1B Visa related Keywords
  2. Google Trends hits for key H1B Visa terms
  3. Traffic at Happy Schools around Jan to March
  4. Number of Labor Condition Applications Filed at DOL
  5. H1B Visa 2019 predictions from Immigration Attorney’s

Sometimes they have been fairly accurate and there were instances, predictions for number of H1B Visa applications was  way off. But, there’s nothing stopping from making another round of predictions right?

Predictions by H1B Visa Applicants

Let’s look at what some of H1B Visa Applicants are thinking about upcoming H1B Visa season.

I predict close to 300,000, We can’t predict if the present lottery system will change next year. They might introduce Merit-based system next year.(Indu)

Indu, has a valid argument. We don’t know what H1B Visa Law would look like for next year season. There are talks about Merit Based Immigration for Green Card and H1B Visa could be granted based on Salary.

There’s strong incentive for IT outsourcing companies to make use of this opportunity. Compared to other factors, I think the impact is maximum if  companies like Infosys, TCS, CTS decide to flood the applications. Maybe 10% to 25% more applications.

It would be roughly 200,00 to 220,000. It would be so because a lot of people learned from last year on how to beat the system. Most would file Wage level 2 to beat Wage level 1 RFEs. (Saheed)

I’m not sure I would agree to this. But, some could be definitely thinking about title change and higher Wage level for this year applications after ton of RFE challenging the Wage Level 1 from LCA. (See Sample Level 1 Wage RFE in this H1B Visa Memo from USCIS)

USCIS published the Total Approved H1B Visa petitions with Degree and Average Salary for FY 2017.

top 3 h1b visa users with average salary and degree

Keep an eye on total H1B’s applied for Masters vs Bachelors Degree. Majority of applications are for Bachelors Degree holders.

Not more than 200,000. Last time in-house approvals are too low and this time they won’t even file in-house and I don’t think masters cap will be filled this year.

Point #6 under Factors influencing Number of H1B Visa applications related to above answer. In the past year, smaller consulting companies tend to apply for H1B Visa based on In-House projects without actual End Client. This would have resulted in RFE from USCIS, asking for more details about the product and maybe requesting End Client letter.

  • Impact would be 5% less applications.

H4 EAD vs Number of H1B Visa Applications

H4 EAD is on the chopping block, but Department of Homeland Security have postponed the Notice to Propose Rule Making to July 2018.

If the Rule making to revoke work authorization for certain spouses have been proposed, number of H1B visa applications could have been increased by large number.

Over 100,000 H4 EAD have been issued by USCIS. Even a 10% applications for H1B Visa would increase the H1B Visa numbers by over 10,000 applications for FY 2019.

My best guess, some employers would file H1B Visa application if the role is critical for their company. I think the overall the impact would be minimal in this case.

Predictions from Immigration Attorneys

Attorney Murali Bashyam

The number of H-1B cap filings will go down this year, mostly due to the negative perception of immigration in general, coupled with tighter and unreasonable adjudications of H-1B cases by the USCIS.  I’d say between 150,000 – 175,000 this year.

The Ultimate H1B Visa Predictions for Lottery

Are you ready for the final H1B Visa 2019 Predictions?

My H1B Visa 2019 prediction: 15% to 20% less applications compared to last year.

  • Number of H1B Visa 2018 – 199,000
  • Expected Number of H1B Vis 2019 applications – 160,000 to 170,000

Reasons – There’s no complex mathematical formula. It’s based on pure sentiment and guesstimate.

h1b visa lottery 2019 predictions

Considering the cost involved for Employer’s attorney to respond to RFE’s ( Wage Level 1 and Speciality Occupation), some employer’s would be backing out from applying for H1B Visa this year.

IT out sourcing companies could not be filing H1B Visa applications for Wage Leave 1 applications at all. Amount of paper work can reach 100’s of pages and it could prove be to tough to handle for some employers. With new Memo from USCIS for third party work sites, H1B Visa documentation requires a signed letter from an authorized person from the End Client.

  • More applications = Better Chances of Selection in Lottery

Even with that logic, I’m assuming they would not apply for H1B Visa for Level 1 Wage applicants.

For resources they have allocated to current projects on critical path, they would definitely apply, plus, I’m sure they have resources from previous years approval yet to utilized or reallocate resources with existing resources within the US on H1B. Even with talks about Major H1B Visa reform, I just don’t see 300,000 applications this year.

5 Bold H1B Visa 2019 Predictions

Now, you have seen the predictions for H1B Visa 2019.  Here’s 5 Bold predictions for H1B Visa FY 2019.

  1. Number of H1B Visa Applications in FY 2019 Will Decline
  2. USCIS suspends Premium Processing as last year to address the backlogs
  3. Percentage of RFE’s issued by California Service Center would match Vermont Service Center
  4. USCIS to question the use of CPT after STEM OPT via Day 1 CPT Universities
  5. Regular Processing Time for H1B Visa will well extend into year 2019

Readers Predictions

  • What’s your predictions for upcoming H1B Visa season?
  • Do you like to add to 5 more bold Predictions for this H1B Visa season?

11 Comments

  1. PKSharma on April 10, 2018 at 2:23 AM

    Murali predicted well for 2019 lottery applications.

  2. Prasad on April 8, 2018 at 5:27 AM

    My employer applied H1b 2019 with wage 80000$ and level 1.Employeer from VA

    Could you please help .is there any issue

  3. sAS on April 5, 2018 at 5:54 PM

    Well you know richer is money , this is ridiculous way of people thinking money is sufficient, Thinking 30 laksh is more for 30 lakhs hardly savings are 10 lakhs per annum, 10 lakhs will go in income tax, 40k for house rent,5 lakhs gone, 5 lakhs for rest, if I am earning at this phase for next 10 years I hardly save 1 cr in the current scenario, if my salary is 200k + 200k shares something like this I can earn 200k net in hand, and 100k is my savings, so thats 60 lakhs, I can make more money in any circumstances, my target is to earn 10 crore in India and open my company and quit working !! or do some relax work rather than working for ever…Hope this answers your question Sukumar for “Richer”

  4. krish on April 5, 2018 at 4:32 PM

    trade war started, jobs will be less. economy will be worst soon. better be in india or go back to india. dont waste money already earned.

  5. Sanjay on April 5, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Well. What happened to this site Raghuram? There are no new updates from you. Maximum number of comments in any post is just 16. Is there any problem? There are people in other sites who are predicting the total number of applicants to be less than 130k. Is that possible?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 8, 2018 at 12:37 AM

      I doubt it will be less than 130k.

  6. sas on April 4, 2018 at 2:39 PM

    Will I beome richie richer if I come to states and do job? i am getting 30 lakhs per annum + bonus + car in my current company

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 4, 2018 at 10:52 PM

      Define “Richer”. For me having a happy life equates to Richer Life.

  7. Aravind on March 25, 2018 at 11:30 AM

    Why there were no one posting comments like last year. Is this is a sign that could be less applicants this year?

  8. Sanjay on March 21, 2018 at 5:27 PM

    Raghuram. Do you think that the Masters Cap will not be filled this year? If not, how many Masters applicants do you predict to apply for this year?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 21, 2018 at 11:14 PM

      I’m certain there will be lottery for both caps – Advanced Degree Cap and General Cap. There’s another post with predictions.

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.