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US - USCIS makes 20,000 H-1B Visas available

In a press release dated March 8, 2005, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that the additional 20,000 H-1B petitions, created under the Omnibus Appropriations Act, will be available to all qualified H-1B nonimmigrant aliens and will not be limited to those aliens holding a master's degree or a higher degree from a US institution of higher learning for the current Fiscal Year 2005. Therefore, employers will be able to petition the USCIS for approval of an H-1B application for any individual that qualifies under H-1B legislation.

In the press release, the USCIS advised employers not to file H-1B petitions seeking to employ an H-1B worker until after the USCIS publishes guidance in the Federal Register. The USCIS further stated that it would reject any new H-1B petitions that are filed in advance of the effective filing date as set out in the USCIS' forthcoming Federal Register notice.