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New US H-1B visa regulation to be signed soon

The regulation on US H-1B visas has moved through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and has gone to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for signature. This means that clear information on the promised 20,000 additional H-1B visas for 2005 should be available soon. The regulation could be published in the Federal Register in the next few days.

As regular visitors know, many unanswered questions remain in the H-1B visa issue. It is uncertain who will be eligible for these visas, and whether the additional 20,000 visas will affect the number available in 2006. Moreover, the federal government initially said the new batch of H-1B visas must be awarded to graduates of U.S. universities with master's degrees or higher. But in March, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the additional visas would not be limited to applicants with advanced degrees.

We hope to find out the answers next week, when the final published regulation is expected to be released.

See also recent news from Bill Gates, who called for an end to quotas on H-1B visas last week.