Good news for H1B candidates and employers
01 September 2000
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The United States House of Representatives just passed a new bill to increase the H1B quota for the next three years. The President is expected to sign the bill within the next three days. Once the bill is in affect the H1B quota is increased from 115,000 to 195,000 for the fiscal years of 2000, 2001 and 2002. This also means that a substantial amount of last year's (fiscal year 2000) backlog will not be added to this year's ( began on October 1, 2000 for 2001) quota.
The cap does not apply to certain categories of people. Firstly, the new laws do not apply to anyone employed, or with a job offer from a college or university. Secondly, it does not apply to non-profit or government researchers. Lastly, it does not apply in the situation where a person applies for an H1B not less than 90 days before or 180 days after obtaining a master's or higher degree.
Another change is that people currently holding an H1B visa who want to change employers can begin working for the new employer once the application for change of employer is submitted.
There are also new extensions for the six-year time limit of the validity of an H1B. H1B holders who have applied for employment-based immigration or adjustment to permanent residency and reached the six-year time limit for the H1B visa can apply for extensions of time. The applicant in this situation is allowed extensions in one-year increments until their permanent residency application is processed. This rule also applies to people holding H1B visas who are beneficiaries of an adjustment to status, but subject to the country limit for green cards. This person may also apply for an extension on the H1B visa.
The other change in the law involves unused employment-based visas. Any employment-based visas that are not used by a visa-limited country will be available for other applicants. This is to eliminate wasted visas.