31 July 2006

Advanced Degree H-1B visa cap met for America

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have announced that they have met the cap on next year's Advanced Degree H-1B visas.

The Advanced Degree H-1B Visa is only available to foreign workers who have earned a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education, and 20,000 are set aside by Congress every year.

USCIS also announced that it will only be processing applications received before or on the 26th July 2006.

Applications for next year's Advanced Degree H-1B visas only began to be accepted in April, and the speed in which all 20,000 have been snapped up will add weight to the argument put forward by companies such as Microsoft and Intel that the cap, and that of the mainstream H-1B visa, be lifted.

The H-1B visa program is used by American businesses to bring in foreign workers with highly specialised skills that require theoretical or technical expertise that may not be available in the local workforce. Currently only 65,000 are available every year and next year's quota was reached within two months of the first application date.

The Immigration Reform bill, currently stalled in Congress over the thorny issue of what to do with the country's illegal immigrant population, includes provision to extend the H-1B cap to 115,000 annually.

H-1B applications for the 2008 fiscal year will now be taken by USCIS on 1 April 2007.

More information on workpermits and visas for the United States is available on this website.

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