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Indian H-1B US visa cap reached in five days

Posted on April 19, 2016
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H1B Visa

Despite the fact that, in 2016, the US government increased the fee for H-1B visa petitions threefold, Indian IT firms have exceeded the cap of 65,000 visas within five days, commencing April 1 for the fourth year in succession.

This fact, once again, reinforces the demand for highly skilled IT workers in the US, besides highlighting the shortage of experts in this field. It also underlines the fact that the demand is growing exponentially.

In the year 2012, it took 235 days for the cap to be reached, while it dropped to 73 days in 2013.

The USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service), however, has not disclosed the number of applications it has received, although it is reported to have got over 230,000 in the year 2015.

The large number of applications has forced the US authorities to resort to a computerised process, akin to a lottery, to randomly select the number of applications required to meet the annual cap of 65,000 in the general category, besides the 20,000 distributed through exemption to advanced degree holders.

Todd Schulte, president of FWD.us, an advocacy group initiated by Mark Zuckerberg, stated that IT companies belonging to India avail the largest number of H-1B visas, which allow US firms to employ foreign employees on a temporary basis.

The cap for H-1B, a non-immigrant visa, is set by the US Congress, precluding the USCIS from accepting applications beyond that number.

Beginning 2016, an additional fee of $4,000 had been imposed by the US government for H-1B petitioners, applying for firms in the US that employ a minimum of 50 employees. Of these, over 50 percent fall in either in L non-immigrant or H-1B status. But, the raise in fee for applications, in addition to the restrictions that the US government enforced last year, has not been able to deter the number of visa petitions from India. Most Indian HR firms were in no doubt that this year petitions would exceed the 230,000 of last year.

Besides Indian IT companies, US multinationals employing Indian nationals also apply for a considerable number of H-IB visas each year. This number is not likely to come down soon as long as IT India continues to produce IT professionals prolifically.

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