Once again, the first day for acceptance (April 1st, for start date of October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year) of new H-1B visa filings has come and gone. Each year, USCIS has available a limited supply of visas in two categories: 65,000 for degreed foreign workers, and 20,000 for foreign workers who earned an advanced degree from a U.S. college or university.
The first category was filled in the first two days, as USCIS service centers were deluged with 130,000+ applications in that short time. USCIS had to resort to a lottery to determine how to allocate the visas.
The second category is not yet filled, but it’s filling fast: at last count (4/16/2007) 16,987 were accounted for. At this rate, the cap-subject H-1Bs will soon be exhausted.
There is another option, though, that is particularly helpful, especially for those in Boston, which is blessed with so many colleges, universities and hospitals. That is, cap exemption for visas where the petitioner is an institution of higher education, a related or affiliated nonprofit, a nonprofit research institution, or a governmental research institution. So, though USCIS can’t expect to get flooded with applications until next April, the flow of H-1B applications can continue.