US begins H-1B visa application process amidst unprecedented scrutiny

National | April 3, 2018, 10:40 a.m.

New Delhi, April 3: The US has started accepting applications for H-1B visas, considered as the most sought-after work visa among highly skilled Indian professionals, amidst unprecedented scrutiny by the Trump administration. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is the federal agency responsible to process the visas, yesterday started accepting applications for H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2019, beginning October 1. 

The USCIS had earlier indicated that there will be zero tolerance by it for even minor errors. 

As of now, the USCIS has not indicated if it plans to go for a computerised draw of lots as has been the case in previous years after receiving several times more than the Congressional mandated cap of H-1B visas. 

A leading advocacy group representing the tech industry including Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook said that it expects number of H-1B petitions to reach the Congressional mandated caps in coming days. As a result of which the USCIS would again resort to a computerised draw of lot to determine successful applicants, it said.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The H1-B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the cap. -- PTI

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