Late on Friday, March 3rd, the administration halted the use of premium processing for H1B transfers.
Premium processing of an H1B visa costs about $1200 and ensures the government will make a go/no go decision within 15 days regarding the transfer. Without premium processing, that decision can take 2 to 6 months, there’s no way of knowing what the timeframe will be.
This means that as an employer, if you are looking to hire someone on an H1B visa, you essentially have no solid idea of when they will start work. For the vast majority of employers, that’s unacceptable, roles need to fill openings fairly immediately.
By essentially removing technology workers on an H1B, the administration tightened an already very tight job market. As an example, Facebook has indicated that more than 15% of its workforce is on H1B visas. The New York Times has pegged the percentage of tech workers on an H1B at 13%, or about 1 million people.
This decision will mean that H1Bs will be staying put, not moving to another opportunity. That hurts high growth startups the most.
The tech sector has always searched for the most qualified candidates. The bar has been rising on technical prowess as market dynamics speed up, as pressure and difficulty of innovation increase.
Speed is critically important in high tech. There’s been an inherent inclination to cut out even the 3 weeks time it takes to process expedited visas, essentially translating into a preference for green card holders and citizens.
For years now, tech companies have shown great restraint and patience as they wait for top tier candidates to fill their roles. It’s our view that this will not change–companies will not compromise on talent. They see their ‘time to hire’ metrics move up, there will be no compromise to hire less qualified people.
We’re hopeful that the big tech titans, Facebook, Apple, Google and others bring the case forward for a more progressive visa structure, so that we can continue to compete effectively on the world stage.