H-1B Visas Still Available

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Following years of extremely high demand, 2010 is proving to be a very slow year for H‑1B visa petitions. This is good news for businesses hoping to add foreign professional workers over the next several months and their prospective employees.

As of December 10, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports having accepted 52,400 H-1B visa petitions out of the 65,000 visas that are available each year. Another 900 visas are still available for those foreign nationals who are eligible to file under the “master’s cap,” which provides for an additional 20,000 visa numbers annually. For several years before the 2008 economic downturn, all H-1B visa numbers were exhausted the first day they became available. In 2009, the cap was reached on December 24.

If you are considering sponsoring a foreign worker in the near future, now is a good time to do so while visa numbers remain available. Once the cap is reached for FY 2011, employer-petitioners and their prospective employees will have to wait until October 1, 2011 to commence new H-1B work (although these petitions can be filed on April 1, 2011).

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