H-1B visas: Over 1.7 lakh techies miss US gold rush

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The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Wednesday that it has completed the computerised draw of lots, or lottery, for granting 65,000 H-1B visas after receiving 2,36,000 petitions which is over three times the official cap for the coveted work visa sought by Indian IT professionals for 2017.

According to a press statement on the USCIS website, the computerised draw of lots that would determine the successful applicants has been completed.

The computerised draw of lots would determine the successful applicants for the 65,000 Congressional mandated H-1B visas and another 20,000 for those foreign students who completed their higher studies from a US academic institute in subjects if science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the statement said.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had announced on Monday that it received over 2,36,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1 for the Financial Year 2017, in just five days of opening up the process.

On April 9, the USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the general-category cap and the cap under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit, the statement explained.

The USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing, it said. As announced on March 16 this year, the USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16.

It would continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.The number of petitions received is more than thrice the Congressionally-mandated cap in the general category for the work visas for highly-skilled workers in the general category.

USCIS also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions by those foreign students who completed their higher studies from a US academic institute in subjects if science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). H-1B visa, popular among Indian techies, is used by American companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialised knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

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