H-1B Visa
Monday marks the opening of the H-1B visa application window for 2018.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications to fill the H-1B visa quota for 2018 Monday, and should historic trends continue, the 65,000 limit should be met with more than 200,000 applicants.

Last year, USCIS received north of 230,000 petitions, the regular cap of 65,000 and the additional 20,000 visas reserved for applicants with a master’s degree or better were filled in five days.

This year’s applicants will submit their petitions amid one of the country’s most unprecedented political climate in generations. Applicants will very likely have the Trump administration’s hard stance on H-1B reform on their mind throughout the process. According to a report from CNBC, James Crabtree, a visiting professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, buckling down on the program does not serve to benefit the United States or the country’s economy — the H-1B visa allows American companies to hire foreign labor with highly specialized skills, Indians are consistently ranked as the highest concentration of H-1B holders.

“It doesn’t make a lot of economic sense to deny companies the ability to do this,” Crabtree said.

Even the smallest regulation of the program could have a dramatic impact on Indian IT outsourcing companies, such as Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services. The majority of U.S. IT firms hire their employees through these Indian firms.

However, critics of the program have said U.S. companies abuse the H-1B program to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor.

“Domestic workers (in the U.S.) think what the Indian companies, in particular, are doing is what’s called body shopping — they’re taking in Indian workers and giving them jobs that should be given to American workers,” Crabtree told CNBC.

But last month, the Trump administration announced the expedited processing of H-1B visas would be suspended, which is bound to have a strong impact on Indian applicants. The expedited service allowed for applicants to receive a response to their petition within 15 days, instead of the normal time frame of several months.