According to the latest update announced by the USCIS last week, the demand for this year’s nonimmigrant worker visa classification in the specialty occupations of H-1B is substantially lower than the petitions filed for the same period last year. USCIS so far only received about 13,500 petitions that are subject to the numeric cap under the annual quota for Fiscal Year 2011, far from the Fiscal Year 2010 cap-subject 42,000 new H-1B filings for the same period in 2009.
H-1B visa category is a special visa type utilized by many US businesses and universities as well as many government agencies to employ foreign talents to work in certain specialty occupations in the US that normally requires an academic preparation of at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, especially in high tech and education industries.
Congress prescribed an annual quota of 65,000 for normal petitions with 20,000 extra annual quota set aside for candidates who obtained an advanced academic degree (master’s or above) from a US university. These numeric caps are based on the fiscal year and the current year’s quota (for Fiscal Year 2010) has already been exhausted in 2009. The filing is now utilizing the next year’s quota (Fiscal Year 2011) and Fiscal Year 2011 will start on October 1, 2010. Therefore, even though the rule allows advanced filing of those petitions filed under Fiscal Year 2011 annual quota now, foreign beneficiaries will not be able to start working for the US petitioners until October 1, 2010 or later.
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