Over 18,000 H-1B visas up for grabs

According to the latest figure update by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), approximately 46,700 of the H-1B visas in the general category were filled up by September 25; against a Congressional mandated figure of 65,000.

Thus, more than 18,000 H-1B visas or over one-fourth of the slot are still to be filled up, even as the financial year began on Thursday.

Primarily meant for professionals from computers and information technology sectors, the H-1B visas have been one of the most sought after visas for foreign professionals in previous years. The US Citizenship and immigration Service (USCIS) have been receiving several times the number of the allocated quota. However, this is for the first time in several years that thousands of H-1B visas are still to be filled up even at the start of the financial year.

This is unlike the previous years when the entire 65,000 visas were grabbed on day one. Many a times, the USCIS had to resort to a computerised lottery to determine the successful candidates.  In fact, USCIS figures reveal that in the last one month, it received just 1,600 petitions for H-1B visas, which officials said reflects the poor job market. It is also attributable partly to the Congressional provision in the ‘American Recovery Act’, which prevents companies receiving stimulus money from the federal government from hiring a foreign national.

The USCIS said it would continue to accept the petitions till the allocated quota is filled up. Further, even though it has received some 20,000 H-1B petitions in the high-education category, it would continue to receive application in this category too.

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