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Sunday, June 21, 2009

What you need to know about H-1B

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Taken from: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services http://www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count

What is a ‘Cap’?
The word ‘cap’ used in this update refers to annual numerical limitations set by Congress on
certain nonimmigrant visa classifications, eg, H-1B and H-2B. Caps control the number of workers
that can be issued a visa in a given fiscal year to enter the United States, pursuant to a particular
nonimmigrant classification. Caps also control the number of aliens already in the United States
that may be authorized to change status to a cap-subject classification.

H-1B
The H-1B visa program is used by some U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty
occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field and a bachelor’s
degree or its equivalent. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer
programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors. The H-1B visa program also includes
certain fashion models of distinguished merit and ability and up to 100 persons who will performing services of an exceptional nature in connection with Department of Defense (DOD) research and development projects or coproduction projects. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. Not all H-1B nonimmigrants are subject to this annual cap. Please note that up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.

H-1B Employer Exemptions
H-1B nonimmigrants who are employed, or who have received an offer of employment, by
institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, as well as those employed, or who will be employed, by a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization are exempt from the cap.

H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption
The H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 makes available 20,000 new H-1B visas for foreign workers
with a Master’s or higher level degree from a U.S. academic institution. For each fiscal year, 20,000 beneficiaries of H-1B petitions on behalf of persons who hold such credentials are statutorily exempted from the cap.



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