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USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year Cap for H-1B Visas

Non-immigrant employment visas give U.S. employers a valuable opportunity to procure the talent and skills they need from around the globe. However, U.S. immigration policy strongly favors the use of domestic labor and strictly regulates the qualifications for receiving an employment visa as well as the overall number of visas available. On April 7th, 2014, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had reached its annual cap of available H-1B employment visas for the 2015 fiscal year.

H-1B visas are popular among employers because the qualifications for receiving one are neither as strict nor as specific as those required for many other types of employment visas. These visas are generally available to workers seeking jobs in the U.S. who perform a specialty occupation that requires at least the equivalent education or training of a U.S. bachelor’s degree. The counterbalance to these fairly general requirements is that only a statutorily limited number of this type of visa is available each year. The limits are as follows:

  • 65,000 H-1B visas are available each year to qualifying individuals seeking to enter the U.S. to work
  • An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available to holders of advanced degrees

Other types of employment visas are not subject to the cap and may still be available. Likewise, workers currently in the U.S. under a valid H-1B visa can still apply for extensions or changes to the terms of their employment or the identity of their employers. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you determine how the cap might affect your DC metro area business and identify other options that may be available for bringing in foreign workers, if necessary.

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