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Visa Knowledge: H1 Visa and Annual Cap

By Bill at July 20, 2010 01:03
Filed Under: Visa Knowledge

Here is some basic knowledge about H1 visa.


What is a "Cap"

The word "Cap" used in Visa update refers to annual numerical limitations set by Congress on certain nonimmigrant visa classifications, e.g., H-1B and H-2B. Caps control the number of workers that can be issued a visa in a given fiscal year to enter the United States pursuant to a particular nonimmigrant classification. Caps also control the number of aliens already in the United States that may be authorized to change status to a cap-subject classification.

H-1B

The H-1B visa program is used by some U.S.employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field and a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors. The H-1B visa program also includes certain fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and up to 100 persons who will performing services of an exceptional nature in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) research and development projects or coproduction projects. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.

H-1B Employer Exemptions

H-1B nonimmigrants who are employed, or who have received an offer of employment, by institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, as well as those employed, or who will be employed, by a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization are exempt from the cap.

H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption

The H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 makes available 20,000 new H-1B visas for foreign workers with a Master's or higher level degree from a U.S. academic institution. For each fiscal year, 20,000 beneficiaries of H-1B petitions on behalf of persons who hold such credentials are statutorily exempted from the cap.

Duplicate H-1B Petitions Filed Requesting Fiscal Year 2010 Employment

USCIS will deny or revoke all petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker if more than one filing is discovered. If multiple petitions are discovered, whether one or more such petitions are approved, USCIS will data enter all those duplicative petitions, retain all fees, and either deny the petitions or, if a petition was approved, revoke the petition. The petitions will not be returned to the petitioner.

H-1B1

An H-1B1 is a national of Chile or Singapore coming to the United States to work temporarily in a specialty occupation. The law defines an H-1B1 specialty occupation as a position that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. The beneficiary must have a bachelor's degree or higher (or equivalent) in the specific specialty. The combined statutory limit is 6,800 per year. The cap for H-1B1 for FY2010 has not been reached as of the date of this Update.

Still plenty of H1B visa left!

By Bill at July 17, 2010 00:54
Filed Under: Immigration News

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced on July 13 that, as of July 9, 2010, it has received approximately 24,800 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap (an increase of only 600 over the week), 10,600 H-1B visas filed subject to the U.S. Masters cap which has 20,000 limit (an increase of only 200 over the week).

 

Background:

The number of new H-1Bs issued each year in the United States is subject to an annual congressionally-mandated quota. Each H-1B quota applies to a particular Financial Year which begins on October 1. Applications for the upcoming Financial Year are accepted beginning on the preceding April 1 (or the first working day after that date).

Those beneficiaries not subject to the annual quota are those who currently hold H-1B status or have held H-1B status at some point in the past six years and have not been outside the United States for more than 365 consecutive days. It has generally been set at 65,000 visas per year, with some exceptions for workers at exempt organizations like universities and colleges (note: contrary to popular belief, non-profit organizations are not automatically exempt, but may be so if affiliated with a university or college). In 2000, Congress permanently exempted H-1B visas going to Universities and Government Research Laboratories from the quota.

Up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year. 

Laws also exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas.

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