On Monday, April 3rd, the United States government began to accept applications for the H-1B visas which are usually granted to foreign tech workers. On Friday, April 7th, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that they had reached its congressionally mandated threshold of 85,000 visas for the new fiscal year. It is unaware how many foreigners applied this year so far but last year over 236,000 immigrants applied for the H-1B visas with only 85,000 accepted. This is the fifth consecutive year that the cap for H-1B US work visa was met within five days, this year the cap was reached in only four days.
Many believe the cap was reached a day earlier than last year because of the harsh immigration laws enforced by the new administration to halt the abuse of the H-1B visa. The permit is intended to provide the United States with foreign high-skilled workers when the positions available can not be filled by Americans. Recently, the government has proposed the idea that the visa has been abused by giving these open positions to foreign workers when there are Americans qualified for the job. Last week a statement was released titled “Putting American Workers First” which stated details on how the USCIS will be redoing the H-1B program’s rules. They also promised they would be conducting site visits to employers in the United States that are using the H-1B visa program to ensure that the rules are being followed. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to accept petitions that aren’t subject to the cap, like those tied to universities or some non-profit companies. The agency has not released how many requests it has received since the cap has been met, but this information should be public within the next week.
The USCIS uses the lottery system to determine who will be chosen for one of the 85,000 H-1B visas available. Those that have been selected to receive an H-1B visa will be reviewed before receiving the final approval to immigrate to the United States for work. In the past, premium processing has helped candidates receive an answer to their H-1B visa application much faster, usually within 15 days compared to a month. However, this year the USCIS temporarily froze the premium processing option to reduce overall processing times.
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