CNN: China’s Visa Workers Try to Keep U.S. Jobs in Coronavirus Crash

In this photo made Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, Hua Bai, center, vice president of Friendship Association of Chinese Scholars and Students, prepares for an orientation for fellow Chinese students at the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, Texas. Bai from China last year to work on a master’s degree …
AP Photo/LM Otero, File

Chinese visa workers are trying to keep their white-collar jobs in the United States amid the coronavirus epidemic and the federal freeze on H-1B visa applications.

“When Tang [Chen] was made redundant on March 13, she didn’t just lose her source of income — she lost her [H-1B] visa status. Now her former employer has decided not to proceed with her green card application, her path to permanent residency has been lost, too,” according to a CNN report April 9.

She arrived in 2014, and she has been working as a software developer at a Pennsylvania travel firm — and she does not want to go home. “She’s desperately applying to university to get a student visa that will allow her to remain in the U.S. legally,” CNN reported

CNN continued:

“I’ve never seen so many visa holders losing their jobs,” said Ying Cao, a New York-based immigration lawyer whose clients are mostly Chinese expats. “It’s worst than in 2008,” she added, when the global financial crisis caused some 2.6 million job losses.

In March, Cao received twice as many inquiries as she would in a usual month. She advises most clients to file for a change of visa status if their grace period is expiring — perhaps to a tourist, student or dependent visa — to buy themselves more time.

So far, the White House has not indicated if President Donald Trump will encourage the foreign workers to leave so that their jobs can be opened to young American graduates.

A review by Breitbart News of federal data suggests there are roughly 270,000 Chinese visa workers legally residing in the United States. That is a large number, but it is far lower than the estimated population of one million Indian visa workers.

Many American graduates tell Breitbart News that they are increasingly being shut out of starter jobs by complacent U.S. managers and by foreign ethnic nepotism in technology companies. This shift of jobs from American graduates towards foreign visa workers has helped to drop graduates’ salaries and to slow innovation in technology companies.

Chinese graduates win about 26,000 three-year H-1B visas each year, according to federal data. But not all stay the full term of their visas, so the resident population of those H-1B visas is likely 60,000.

Many other Chinese are using the Occupational Practical Training (OPT) and the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to get work permits.

Roughly 300,000 foreign students or graduates got one-year work-permits from those two programs in 2018. Chinese students comprised almost one-third of the foreign student population of 1.6 million in 2018, so the federal data suggests that 100,000 Chinese students got OPT or CPT work permits in 2018 — sometimes aided by fraudulent job offers.

But an additional 25,843 Chinese graduates got three-year work permits via the “STEM” side of the Optional Training Program in 2018. That suggests at least 60,000 Chinese graduates are holding multi-year jobs via the STEM-OPT program in 2018.

The Department of State also says it awarded almost 11,000 L-1 visas and almost 1,000 O visas in 2016. These visas can run for several years, but the annual numbers include spouses.

A large number of Chinese graduates — perhaps 20,000 — also hold jobs among the roughly 80,000 postdoc researchers in U.S. university laboratories.

The website,, uses federal data to track job opportunities for foreign graduates in the United States.

The data shows that employers nationwide nominated 11,153 Chinese-born migrants for green cards in 2019; 12,612 in 2018; 8,603 in 2017; and 7,217 in 2015. Overall, 59,870 Chinese has been nominated for green cards since 2010 by U.S. employers. Nearly all of those requests are approved by the government after a short delay.

These back-of-the-envelope estimates suggest that roughly 60,000 Chinese are working on H-1Bs, roughly 60,000 are working on three-year STEM-OPT permits, perhaps 100,000 are working on one-year STEM or CPT jobs, perhaps 30,00 are on other visas, and perhaps 20,000 are working as postdocs.

There are roughly 270,000 resident Chinese visa workers holding jobs in the United States.

That is a huge number. Roughly 800,000 Americans graduate each year from four-year colleges with skilled degrees in science, software, engineering, business, architecture, math, or health care.

This 270,000 estimate excludes the roughly 50,000 Chinese former visa workers who have won green cards.

It also excludes the growing illegal population of Chinese workers, tourists, and students who violated visa rules. One example of claimed Chinese visa fraud was tracked by

[The company] CloudParticle [was] based at a home just blocks away from Findream’s Mountain View headquarters … The company’s CEO, Jianfeng Yang, is currently employed as a Google engineer. His home on a quiet Mountain View street is listed as CloudParticle’s business address, and the company has no apparent website or phone number. Yang declined to discuss the company when NBC Bay Area reached him by phone and again when NBC Bay Area found him in person outside of a Google office.

The Chinese visa workers hold many types of jobs, including in media. For example, Sissi Cao is a business reporter in New York for the

Many Chinese white-collar migrants are hired by elite U.S. companies or by major banks. For example, the MyVisaJobs data shows that Amazon and its various affiliates have nominated 2,736 Chinese employees for green cards since 2013. Not all those nominated were approved, but the companies still employed those workers.

A back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests Amazon employs 2,500 Chinese-born people who have been nominated for green cards during the last ten years, plus 3,000 Chinese visa workers with H-1Bs visas, plus roughly 900 Chinese-born graduates with STEM-OPT, OPT, or CPT work permits. The data suggests that Amazon employs 5,000 visa worker Chinese, plus at least one thousand legal immigrant Chinese. described one of Amazon’s Chinese visa workers who was temporarily stuck in China because of the disease:

Before leaving for China, Hou accepted a new job as a senior software engineer with Amazon in Seattle. But to start working, he needed to leave the country in order to renew his US employment visa …  The visa, known as H-1B, ties foreign workers to the employer that sponsors them — which makes it tricky for H1-B workers to switch jobs while remaining in the US.

A similar calculation suggests Microsoft employs roughly 6,000 Chinese-born workers.


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