US Immigration & Visa Trends 2012

We have from time to time given you insight into wider immigration trends, job trends, location migration trends and other economic and business trends that you may find insightful as it pertains to both US Immigration and your general search to live in the US, work in the US, study in the US, stay permanently in the US and/or get a US visa.

Today just wanted to share a couple of trends regarding Internet Searches that may give you an idea as to a possibly uptick in US Immigration activity for the first time since the Economy and Markets around the world and particularly the US hit rock bottom in early 2009. We have already talked about in our H-1B Visa Quota Updates that there is a significant increase in demand from US employers for foreign talent to a rate we have not seen since 2008.

H1B Visa

Let’s look at the H-1B Visa first and “H1B” searches on Google in the US from Jan 2007 through June 2012 to give us a long term perspective as to how this has played out. You can see since this year’s H-1B visa season opened in April 2012 right towards the end of the chart, there has been an uptick in Internet search activity to a level not seen since 2009.

Now given it is likely this quota is going to be exhausted by June 2012, it may downturn after that until next year but this is the first year since that time where the more usual dramatic spike in H-1B internet search activity has occurred. This could indicate along with the faster filling quota we may be returning toward past times and possibly things like the H-1B visa lottery again, which is not a good thing and really calls for more action on behalf of Congress to help the US economy as a whole with smarter Immigration policies.

The reason why we look at “H1B” searches in the US only is b/c most foreigners that are hired are already US based and of course their employers certainly are.

E3 Visa

The E3 Visa for Australian Nationals to work in the US b/c of its different features to the H-1B visa such as the ability to apply at any time of the year and in practice unlimited nature of the quota is not prone to the same seasonal spikes as the H-1B visa chart. Below is a chart for “E3 Visa” searches in Australia only b/c while again jobs are largely found by Australians in the US, the original intent comes from within Australia due to the relatively low number of Australians who are in the US doing things like studying at US Colleges and universities.

In general you can see that the search volume has followed a similar general trend to the “H1B” searches in US with being higher closer to 2007, declining and then being placid for next period with possibly a slight rise more recently. The interesting this during this economic downturn period, the Australian economy never went into recession with unemployment rates around the 5% level whereas US unemployment levels peaked at 10% level and are now around 8&.

Green Card

The elusive Green Card is the dream for many foreigners wanting to come to the US being the gateway to unrestricted work and study, access to US benefits, being able to live without visa needs and ultimately a path to US citizenship. The below shows “Green Card” searches worldwide for the last 5 years and we have made it worldwide b/c we know the interest is certainly global especially with things like the Green Card Lottery.

The Green Card Lottery actually provides an interesting seasonal component to the Search trends as the lottery itself is run every October/November with results being announced largely in May/June. So during those periods there is potential for spike and that can be seen particularly during the lottery opening phase in October each year but also with mini spikes around May. In the recent 3 years or so, people have been able to check their results online so that may have increase the search volume in May/June.

Overall you can see while there has been a little drop following 2007, unlike the H1B visa and E3 visa searches, the “Green Card” searches have maintained a similar level throughout these 5 years showing an ongoing sustained demand from foreigners around the globe with the desire to move permanently to the US.

F1 Visa

The F-1 visa is possibly the most common route to an H-1B visa for foreigners with them coming to study for Bachelors, Masters or PhD programs at US Colleges and then going to work at US companies often via the F1 OPT program. Now the interesting that has happened in the higher education sector at large with so many people being laid off in recent years along with prospects looking bleak for recent high school and undergraduate level people, is that people have opted for more education.

The below looks at “F1 Visa” searches globally and if we look at the trend of the F1 visa through this same 5 year period, it bares more of a similarity to the Green Card searches chart rather than H1B or E3 visa charts with it being sustained through this time. It tends to peak around Around April/May which is not surprising and that is the general deadline for many college submissions for the follow academic year beginning in September for most students

J1 Visa

The J-1 visa like the F-1 visa is a common route to working more permanently in the US with things like the H-1B or E-3 Visa or indeed studying on the F-1 visa itself. As the J-1 visa covers so many different programs including au-pairs, college counsellors, high school exchange programs, college work and travel programs, internships, cultural exchanges, etc. there are a lot of possibly contrary factors effecting how often it may be searched. The below looks at the “J1 visa” searches globally on Google.

Interestingly this chart follows a more similar trend to the H-1B and E-3 work type visa which suggests that the J-1 visa search volume is more influenced by people looking it as a means to work in the US rather than the exchange type programs it covers as well. This makes sense as many of the US sponsor organizations who bring in foreigners under the J-1 visa have reported smaller numbers in recent years.

We hope that this has provided a new insight for you all into the world of US immigration and maybe help your own quest to live in the US. Please leave us comments as would love to continue the discussion and hear all your stories on US Immigration.


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