The second post in our series analyzing H1-B visa data. In our last post, we explored variations in the number of Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) by state. In this post, we’re breaking down which industries have the largest pool of H1-B LCAs.
For four years in a row, the computer systems design industry has seen the highest number of H1-B visa applications.
Since 2014, the computer systems design industry has seen hundreds of thousands more applications for H1-B visas than any other industry – including scientific and tech consulting, colleges and universities, and architectural and engineering services.
A H1-B Visa Report, based on 647,852 Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) filed by U.S. employers in the fiscal year 2016, found that 336,513 LCAs were filed by U.S. employers in the computer systems design industry. LCAs are the forms that employers submit in order for employees to receive H1-B visas.
These numbers compound growing concern about the negative impact that more stringent policies around the U.S. H1-B visa program could have on the tech sector. Technology reporter Tracey Lien wrote in The Los Angeles Times in April that technology companies were alarmed “after federal agencies signaled they would place increased scrutiny on the visa program and the companies that utilize it.”
The tech industry has also argued that “the H-1B program is needed because it encourages students to stay in the U.S. after getting degrees in high-tech specialties – and they can’t always find enough American workers with the skills,” according to an April CBS report.
But we thought it was important to look closely at the numbers of H1-B visa applications, broken down by industry over the last four years. You can use these interactive visualizations to compare the number of H1-B visa applications by industry and year.
Check out some of the trends yourself using our interactive graphics below. Or, click on any of the visuals within the post to interact with the data.
(1) The computer systems design industry continues to see the highest numbers of LCAs for H1-B visas.
The number of LCAs filed by employers in the computer systems design and related services industry continues to dominate the number of LCAs filed by all other industries. With 336,513 LCAs filed by computer systems design employers in fiscal year 2016, the industry’s numbers dwarf those of the industry with the second-highest numbers: management, scientific and tech consulting services, with 53,647 LCAs.
However, compared to other industries, computer systems design had the least amount of change compared to the previous year – the number of LCAs filed by computer systems design companies grew by just over 1,000 applications.
These numbers are relatively consistent with other reporting done by the Pew Research Center, which found that two-thirds of H1-B visa requests in 2011 were for occupations in STEM fields, and that nine in 10 H1-B visa requests were for jobs that required some high-level STEM knowledge.
(2) There was an increase in LCAs across nearly every industry compared to the previous year.
Almost every industry surveyed saw increased numbers of LCAs filed. Even the industries that have seen slight decreases in LCAs in past years had increases this year: colleges, universities and professional schools, architectural, engineering and related services, accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, scientific research and development services and semiconductor and electronic component.
(3) The only industry with a decrease in LCAs filed was the industry with the lowest number of overall LCAs, the securities, commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage industry.
The securities, commodity contracts intermediation and brokerage industry consistently sees the lowest number of LCAs filed for H1-B visas. And, in fiscal year 2016, there was a -1 percent decrease in LCAs filed compared to the previous fiscal year.
(4) The management, scientific and tech consulting services industry had the largest increase in LCAs filed.
There was a 45 percent increase in LCAs filed by employers in the management, scientific and tech consulting services industry for employees to receive H1-B visas in the fiscal year 2016.
The industry has consistently seen increased LCAs filed over the years, but this was the largest percentage increase yet, and more than doubled any other increase seen in any other industry.
(5) The accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services industry saw the second-largest increase in LCAs filed.
The accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services industry is an outlier industry in the higher end of LCAs filed because it falls outside the realm of STEM fields.
Yet, after a 6 percent decrease in LCAs in fiscal year 2014, this industry has seen a consistent increase in LCAs filed for employee H1-B visas – the largest jump was 30 percent back in fiscal year 2014.