12 August 2009

Glut of US visas

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For the first time in several years the H1B visa programme, once the most sought after among Indian professionals, is unlikely to reach its cap of 65,000 before the start of the 2010 fiscal year.

American visa

The Congressionally-mandated cap for the American visa, H1B, has not yet been reached. The result is in great contrast to previous years.

Nearly 20,000 of the American visa slots are lying vacant thanks to the tattered US economy.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services said it has received approximately 49,000 H1B  visa petitions until August 7, counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap, more than four months after it started accepting applications for visas for the 2010 fiscal year begining this October. 

This is in contrast to the previous years when the USCIS had to resort to a computerised lottery as it received several times more than the Congressional mandated cap of 65,000 within the first few days of opening H1B visa applications. 

In 2007 and 2008 the caps were reached in the first few days itself – April 2 and April 1-5 respectively.

The 20,000 vacant slots have remained almost the same for the past two months. This is also due to a large number of rejections of H-1B petitions.       

Figures in the past have indicated that Indian IT professionals receive the majority of H1B visas.  

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.

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