Washington: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has said that it has received enough H1-B visa applications, for high-tech professionals and highly in demand among Indians, to meet the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2009.
Announcing that the quota had been met the USCIS did not give the number of applications received but said it would “carry out the computer-generated random selection process” at a date to be determined.
“Before running the random selection process, USCIS will complete initial data entry for all filings received during the filing period ending on 7 April. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the precise day on which it will conduct the random selection process,” a statement from the agency said.
The USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H1-B visa applications filed on behalf of persons exempted from the cap under the “advanced degree” exemption.
The agency will carry out the computer-generated random selection process to select 65,000 applications for general category and 20,000 under ‘advanced degree´ exemption limit.
“It will reject and return filing fees for all petitions not randomly selected, unless found to be a duplicate. USCIS will handle duplicate filings in accordance with the interim final rule published on 24 March in the Federal Register,” it added.
The agency has announced that it will conduct the selection process for “advanced degree” exemption petitions first. “All advanced degree petitions not selected will be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.”
Launched in 1990, the H1-B visa programme allows foreign scientists, engineers and other advanced degrees to be employed for up to six years, at the end of which they must obtain a permanent residency or return home.