H-1B visa applications to be accepted from April 1

In a statement, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it will accept petitions for 65,000 H-1B visas as mandated by the Congress.

“Cases will be considered accepted on the date that it takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee; not the date that the petition is postmarked,” the statement said.

The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from this 65,000 cap.

If needed, USCIS will randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date, the statement said.
Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organisations or governmental research organisations.

US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

Last year, mainly attributable to the economic recession, the cap on H-1B visa was reached on December 22.

This was unlike previous years when the cap was reached within the first few days of USCIS starting to accept H-1B petitions. As a result, USCIS had to resort to computerised draw of lots to determine successful applicants.

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