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US H-1B Visas still available

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Due to the economic downturn there are still H-1B visas available for the FY 2010 quota. Many employers simply cannot afford to employ overseas workers. In addition those companies that accept funding from the "troubled asset relief funding" are prohibited from employing foreign workers. The H-1B Visa is one of the best temporary visa categories for bringing in professional level staff with at least a bachelor's degree. In many cases this is the only visa category available to employers to bring in professional level staff.

Applications have been accepted for the latest quota from 1 April 2009. In previous years the quota has been filled within one week of a new quota being available.

On 18 May 2009 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that they have received approximately 45,500 H-1B petitions counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap. There are approximately twenty thousand visas left on the quota.

Sharon Schneidhauer from the USCIS says, "we are still accepting petitions, so folks who are interested should apply and get their petitions in."

It should be noted that petitions filed to extend or amend H-1B employment for foreign workers already in H-1B status and new workers to be employed by institutions of higher education or related nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations, or governmental research organizations are not subject to the H-1B cap.

H-1B Workers currently in the US do not count towards the H-1B Cap in the following circumstances:

  • If extending their t H-1B visa in the United States.
  • If changing the terms of employment for their current H-1B visa.
  • If an H-1B worker wishes to change employers.
  • If the H-1B worker wishes to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Workers with an US earned Masters or Higher Degree are exempt from the H-1B Cap:

USCIS treats as exempt from the cap for any fiscal year the first 20,000 H-1B petitions reflecting an alien beneficiary with a US-earned masters or higher degree.

Also, Workers employed in Higher Education, non profit entities and research organizations are exempt from the H-1B Cap:

Petitions for new H-1B employment are not subject to the annual cap at all if the worker will be employed at an institution of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, or at a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization.