H1B Visa Changes Give Priority to MBA and Master's Students

July 06, 2019
After the implementation of new regulations the odds of MBA candidates increased by more than 10% to get the US work visa.

They are burdened with student debt heavily and will be in a position to settle it. They can expect an attractive return on investment on a college degree owing to the changes in immigration rules. These improve the chances of graduate students better than undergraduates for securing the H-1B visa in the new format for top skilled migrants that was launched on 1st April 2019.

H1B Visa Changes Give Priority to MBA and Master

Visa rules benefit MBA and master’s degree holders

Each fiscal year there will be 85,000 new H-1B visas available to the employers who can sponsor the workers through filing their applications. 65,000 visas among them are for workers having the bachelor’s degree, and 20,000 for holders of master’s degree.

The proposed change has reversed the order to assess H1-B petitions. Applications from master’s students presently are assessed at the last stage. MBAs can seek the sponsorship two times first by using their undergraduate credentials and, they are not successful, they can use the MBA degree. Owing to getting two chances for the sponsorship there will be a possibility to obtain 5,000 additional H-1B applications for the advanced degrees including the master’s degree. The odds of an MBA getting the visa, increased from 60% earlier to 72% now.

Why the change is required?

Foreign students could not access the US jobs market owing to the strict visa process in the H-1B. Figures published by US Citizenship and Immigration Services confirm that there was an increase of 60% in returning H-1B applications for further documentation during the initial quarter of 2019, in comparison to the same period in 2018. These are, known as Requests for Evidence. There was a substantial increase in the rate of denials in the H1-B application between 2017 and 2018.

A recent survey of employers found that 58% had a plan to hire foreign MBA graduates in 2019, in comparison to 47% last year.
The political climate discouraged foreign students to apply to MBA programs in US. In general 70% of US schools had a decline in receiving the applications for a two-year MBA (full-time) in 2018.

A Welcome change

This visa change is a step in the right direction, even then more has to be done for changing the mindset of employers towards the job prospects.

There is STEM-designated admission in the MBA program, meaning that STEM MBA students, can stay back in the US and work their way up on a student visa for three years after completing their graduation.

A designation in STEM extends the period of Optional Practical Training. Now this program gives practical training to graduates for complementing their education, for one, two or three years. In this time they get the opportunity to apply multiple times to get the H1-B visa.

MBAs as well as master’s graduates can increase the probability of selection after obtaining the advanced degrees.
This will boost international hiring for Masters in Business Administration, and bring a change to the US business schools.


There is presently a hope that the revised visa regulations will assist more international MBAs and master’s graduates to do well in USA.

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