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There has been a big drop in the number of immigrants holding H-1B visas in the United States. There has been a 9 per cent drop in the number of H-1B visa holders in the US, marking the highest decline in a decade.

The development was reported by Bloomberg news, based on an analysis of data from the US Department of Labor.

SECOND CONSECUTIVE ANNUAL DECLINE

The analysis showed there was a 12.6 per cent drop in foreign engineering and mathematics workers who held the H-1B visa in the fiscal year ending September 2021, compared to the previous year.

This marks the second consecutive annual decline for this segment, which has traditionally been growing steadily. The annual drops are a result of travel and visa restrictions on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It may be noted that the combined metric for all job categories totaled to more than 4,97,000 during the fiscal year 2021, marking a 9 per cent decrease from 2020 and a 17 per cent decline from 2019.

Read | Now, H-1B visa holders’ spouses to get automatic work authorisation permits

PANDEMIC IMPACT

Cyrus Mehta, managing partner, Cyrus D Mehta & Partners, told the publication that the drop in H-1B visa workers can be clearly attributed to the Covid-19 travel bans and the inability of non-immigrants to get visas and come to the US under approved H-1B petitions.

Former US president Donald Trump banned the entry of H-1B visa holders in order to protect American jobs for local workers in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. A slowdown in visa processing due to embassy closures during the pandemic also led to a lower number of H-1B workers in the US.

When compared to pre-Covid levels in 2019, the number of H-1B employment cases was down 19 per cent for the engineering and mathematics job category.

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India today

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