Washington: The US government will start accepting petitions for the H-1B visas, the most sought after work visa for Indian IT professionals, from 1 April, an official release said.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2016 beginning 1 October 2015 remains 65,000.

The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

In a statement, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it expects to receive more petitions than the H-1B cap during the first five business days of this year’s programme.

As such it will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives an excess of petitions during the first five business days, the agency will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap, the media statement said.

Successful H-1B applicants were determined through a lottery system last year. PTI