31 December 2010

11,000 H1-B US Visas still available as year closes

Around 11,000 H-1B US visas, the most sought visa subclass by Indian professionals, are still available as the year closes: a record high.

US Visa

The high number of available visas is attributed to professionals being daunted by the grim employment situation in the US, as well as the sharp US Visa fee increase 

Of the 65,000 available H-1B visa places, around 11,000 remain unused for qualified applicants for the fiscal 2010-2011, says the latest figures released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Until a couple of years ago, the cap on these visas was reached within the first few days of opening.

Last year, the cap of 65,000 was reached on December 21.

The fees for a H-1B US Visa have soared from $320 to $2,320: a move by the US Government to help pay for a $650 million effort to increase security along the US-Mexico border. A further bill has enabled this fee increase along with a tax on goods and services from particular countries including China and India to help pay for health care provision for 9/11 rescuers.

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows the entry of foreign workers in specialty occupations for a period of time.   

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  ESTA applications to the US Embassy.

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