Record demand for H-1B visas during the recession

January 21, 2002

Record demand for H-1B visas

Despite the onset of an economic recession and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, demand by U.S. companies to hire skilled foreign workers — those using H-1B visas to work in the U.S. — reached its highest-ever level in 2001, according to a study by online immigration services provider of Chicago.

From Oct. 1, 2000 through Sept. 30, 2001, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service received applications for 342,035 H-1B visas. This represents a 14.4 percent increase over FY2000, when a record 299,046 H-1B applications were received, according to the company’s study.

Of the 342,035 H-1B applications received, approximately 163,200 were approved against the FY2001 annual limit, or “cap,” of 195,000. The remaining 178,835 were either approved but did not apply to the cap, denied, or were pending with the INS as of Sept. 30, 2001.

The H-1B visa is used by U.S. companies to hire skilled foreign workers to fill positions in the U.S. when qualified domestic workers are unavailable. A majority of H-1B holders are employed in computer- and engineering-related professions. Between October 2000 and September 2001, the number of employees in these two sectors grew by 80,000 positions, according to VisaNow.

COMMENTARY: 80,000 new jobs? During the same time period, many more than 80,000 high-tech workers lost their jobs through mass-layoffs, and were available to take these 80,000 new jobs the industry created, and many more than 80,000 high-tech workers graduated from colleges and universities during that period.  There is absolutely no reason to import 163,200 aliens to cover 80,000 new positions when so many Americans have lost their jobs, and our colleges and universities graduates so many high-tech workers.

“Even with reports of large-scale layoffs in the tech industry, jobs continue to be created in the sectors that traditionally employ large numbers of skilled foreign workers,” says Robert Meltzer, president of “The country simply does not graduate enough U.S. citizens with the requisite background to meet the demand. They have no choice but to look overseas.”

COMMENTARY: This is simply not true.  This country does graduate enough U.S. citizens with the requisite background.  Look at the actual numbers at

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