US to accept H-1B applications from 1 April 2011
29 March 2011
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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 on 1 April 2011. However, the earliest you can start work on an H-1B visa is October 2011. US firms use H-1B visas to recruit overseas workers in specialty occupations in fields in the sciences, engineering, and information technology.
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The H-1B visa scheme is subject to an annual cap set by the United States Congress each year. For FY 2012, the cap is again set at 65,000 visas. There are 20,000 additional visas for those with US Masters degrees or higher.
"The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master's degrees or higher are exempt," USCIS said in a statement.
There are certain other H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap as well. These include job posts at:
- Institutions of higher education or related or affiliatednonprofit entities
- Nonprofit research organizations
- Governmental research organizations
H-1B visa extensions filed for workers who are currently in the US under an H-1B visa also do not count towards the cap.
In April 2007 the cap was reached in one day. The US has still not fully recovered from the economic downturn of 2008; Over the last few years there has been less demand for H-1B visas. The increased availability of H-1B visas means that it is now easier for US companies to import skilled labor from abroad under the H-1B program.