US to accept H1B applications from April 1
Washington: The US will start accepting application for H-1B visa, the most sought after work visa by Indian IT professionals from April 1 this year, the federal agency USCIS announced.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa which allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers.
With the improvement in the country's economy, and based on the feed-back from companies, the US Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS) said this year they expect to receive enough applications to fill up the congressionally mandated numbers in the first five days that is April 5.
If that happens, this would be for the first time since the economic crisis of 2008-2009 that the H-1B cap would be filled in the first few days itself.
The cap, or the limited number of H-1B visas that will be granted has been set at 65,000 for fiscal for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2013.
However, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a US Master's or higher degree are exempt from the cap of 65,000.
"Based on feedback from a number of stakeholders, USCIS anticipates that it may receive more petitions than the H-1B cap between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013," the federal agency said in a statement, adding that it will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public of the date on which the numerical limit of the H-1B cap has been met.
This date is known as the final receipt date, it said. If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, it will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit.
The lottery for the H-1B cap was last used in April 2008, when the cap was filled on the first day itself.
Last year in 2012, it took 73 days for the USCIS to fill in the cap, while it took 235 days to receive applications to fill the 65,000 H-1B numbers in 2011; 300 days in 2010, and 264 days in 2009.
The agency cleared that it will reject petitions that are subject to the cap and are not selected, as well as petitions received after it has the necessary number of petitions needed to meet the cap.
To avoid any confusion, USCIS said applications will be considered accepted on the date the agency receives a properly filed petition for which the correct fee has been submitted, not the date that the petition is postmarked.