Who Gets Permanent Work Visas in America?

When it comes to getting a visa approved, it helps if you work in the finance sector.

Image
Shutterstock.com

In 2012 and 2013, the United States considered 3,945 permanent work-related visa applications for foreign employees in New York City. Want to guess what field the majority of these people specialized in?

If you said finance, then ding ding ding! that is correct. Roughly a quarter of visa applications related to folks in the financial industry – and this was out of more than 300 fields for which employers or employee agents applied. Morgan Stanley topped the list with about 100 applications, followed by Credit Suisse Securities, Barclays, American Express, and Goldman Sachs. It's enough to make a body all teary-eyed knowing that the American dream is alive and kicking, at least on Wall Street.

For other interesting tidbits about New York's visa situation, look no further than this engaging visualization from MIT's Social Computing Group. Using data from Enigma, the viz whizzes created an interactive map showing the nationalities and fields that had the most applications for 2012 and 2013. Countries shaded darker gray are associated with a greater hunger for visas from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

As it turns out, India had the most visa-wanters with 1,634 applications, mostly in finance and I.T. positions. China is a distant second with 290 applications, by and large also in finance. Runner-ups include South Korea (whose requests were mostly for finance, hospitality, retail, health care, and educational services), then Canada (finance), Mexico (hospitality and finance), and the Philippines (health care and finance). If you're not yet convinced that applications are flying out left and right from the U.S. financial world, take a look at this breakdown of all requests – I.T. applications number about half of those for finance (and randomly, you're doomed if you work in "agribusiness"):

About this project, MIT writes:

This visualization shows the acceptance rate, job title, origin country, and economic sector of the permanent visa applications for companies in New York City in the years 2012 and 2013. New York City accounts for 6% of the country's total 64810 visa applications filed in 2012 and 2013. And permanent visa applicants from 2012 and 2013 account for about 0.05% of New York's population....

The diversity and the description of jobs in a particular sector (or originating from a particular country) can help us to form impressions of how newer residents from outside of the United States have contributed to the city. The immigrant's narrative is cast as imprints on a larger system, focusing on the back and forth interaction between a city's industries and the world.

Over the coming days, MIT will be pumping out breakdowns for other American cities. It's already done one for Houston's 1,775 applications over the same period, and the situation there is quite different – the I.T. and aerospace fields dominate the requests, with energy coming in third:

What didn't change was the nationality behind most of the requests. That would again be Indians:

Top image: joephotostudio / Shutterstock.com

About the Author