The issue of immigration policy has always been controversial when it comes to an increasing scrutiny on H-1B visa. President Donald Trump is reducing the rate of approvals for H-1B visas to foreigners more frequently. By doing so, it seems to reflect a “cold-shoulder” treatment towards those international students who chase after the American Dream.
Elain has been continuously looking for a job, sending emails to companies. She just graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Master’s Degree in Economics this June. However, it seems that there is only a slim chance for her to switch from F1 visa to a H-1B visa.
“I applied for the OPT that is specific to F1 visa holders to obtain 12 months of temporary employment authorization. But the truth is, I would not receive any response if I tell them about my current visa situation.
Even though my background is a perfect match to the requirement of the company. Most companies have determined that they would only hire U.S. citizens or those with green cards,” she said.
Nevertheless, Elain has received several interviews from insurance companies. Ironically, the companies which showed an interest at first turned into a tone of sympathetic refusal. Because she told them that she needs to be sponsored working here.
“They said they could give me a chance of three months unpaid internship. I feel bad about this because I know they would not sponsor me, but I still want this opportunity. I feel that they are taking advantage of me,” she said dejectedly.
The latest statistics showed a rising tendency of denials for H1-B application.
The U.S. USCIS received 190,000 applications this April – 105,000 in excess of the 85,000-annual limit, according to National Fund for American Policy.
At the same time, President Donald Trump issued “Buy American and Hire American” executive order. Then the USCIS started to increase the denial rate of working visa petitions for high-skilled foreign-born professionals.
A data analysis found that the denial rate of visas in 2017 Q3/Q4 increased from 15.9% to 22.4%. The proportion of H-1B petition denials has increased by 41%.
Ding, a statistical programmer, was in the throes of this dilemma, due to the immigration policy change. When I reached out to him, he was busy packing the luggage because he needs to depart from the U.S. on Saturday.
“It seems this country doesn’t welcome me.” Ding said. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 2013, has been working for almost five years.
However, he was noticed recently with a refusal of renewing his H1-B working visa. While his girlfriend’s H-1B visa has been approved, their plan for getting married next year is totally dashed to pieces.
“I was totally lost when I got this notice because all I wanted is to build up my career here and stay with my girlfriend. Actually, I moved to Los Angeles just a month ago, it’s very hard for me to find a job here in California but I made it.
Finally, I can stay with my girlfriend. I thought I was the lucky one, but I am not,” he said, with his girlfriend beside him.
His girlfriend also showed frustration and confusion. She expressed that she never thought of going back to China within five years with “American Dream” deep in her heart.
Now that Ding has been denied a visa, there is a dilemma for her. She needs to decide whether to pursue her own career and break up with her loved one or forego her dream and go back to China together.
“There is a narrow path before me to build up my career. I feel like I don’t have the freedom to choose what I want in a country with its representative foundation — freedom,” she said.
Attorney Michael Zhang, aided on numerous H-1b applications, asserted the impact of current immigration policies exerted more pressure on companies. For instance, those companies would have speculation on certain issues: Would the immigration officials start investigating their payroll records? What constitutes an abuse of the H1-B visa?
Furthermore, he also reminded international students of hatching an alternative plan for not being approved or not even being selected. On the other hand, it is paramount for companies who want to hire foreigners to provide persuasive documents and explanations.