Saturday, April 10, 2010

H-1B Visas for Fiscal Year 2011 Still Available

On April 8, 2010, USCIS announced that it was still accepting applications for H-1B specialty worker visas for fiscal year 2011. The H-1B visas are for foreigners who work in a position requiring a bachelor's degree or higher. There are 65,000 available each year, plus an addition 20,000 available for foreigners holding a master's degree or higher from a U.S. school.

The fiscal year begins on October 1, 2010. H-1B petitions can be filed as early as 6 months in advance. Thus, April 1, 2010 was the first date on which H-1B petitions could be filed. As of April 8, 2010, 13,500 H-1B petitions had been filed, and 5,600 petitions for individuals with advanced degrees.

In recent years, the trend had been for there to be more petitions filed on April 1 than there were available visas. This results in a lottery to see which applicants receive the visas. Last, year, however, H-1B visas remained available up through December of 2009. Fiscal year 2010 appears to be starting off in the same manner.

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