USCIS Publishes Report on FY17 H1B Petition Filings

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published the annual report for fiscal year (FY) 2017 that details characteristics of H1B petitions. FY17 ran from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The report provides data related to H1B petitions filed during FY17, including the number of petitions filed and the number of approvals issued.

Data Shows Increase in Approvals

The report indicates that there were 403,675 H1B petitions filed in FY17, which increased by 1.24 percent from FY16. Interestingly, the report also states that the number of petitions approved increased by 5.9 percent from FY16.

At first blush, an increase in the overall number of approvals may seem surprising, given the release of the March 31, 2017, memorandum that brought into question whether the position of a computer programmer qualifies as a specialty occupation for H1B purposes. As stakeholders discovered, the memo significantly increased challenges related to getting H1B petitions approved for more junior-level positions. The number of approvals listed on the report, however, does not actually indicate an increase in approval rate. Rather, as the report clarifies, the figures reflect the number of petitions approved during FY17, including those petitions filed before the start of that fiscal year. Petitions filed during FY17, but not adjudicated until after the start of FY18, are not included in the report. Accordingly, it seems fairly likely that, when the report for FY18 is released, it will show an increase in the number of denials.

Information Technology Positions Among Most Prevalent Approved H1B Occupation

The report shows that 69.8 percent of approvals in FY17 were for computer-related occupations. The total number of approved computer-related H1B petitions was 254,592, an increase over the 237,837 in FY16. The data also shows that 75.6 percent of total H1B petitions in FY17 were for beneficiaries whose country of birth is India, a slight increase from the previous fiscal year. Overall, the median yearly salary of approved petitions increased from $82,000 in FY16, to $85,000 in FY17.


The FY17 report helps provide helpful insights and statistics of the H1B landscape. This raw data, however, likely does not reflect the current climate with RFEs and the substantial trend of increased denials at the USCIS.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.