Legal Alert: Plenty of H-1B Visas Still Available

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As of September 9, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that only 32,200 petitions for H-1B visas have been received. The H-1B visa is a so-called “specialty occupation” visa that allows foreign nationals to work for American business in professional positions. A “professional” position is defined as one which requires, at a minimum, a four-year degree from a college or university. 65,000 new H-1B visas are available each year.

The start date for filing H-1B visa petitions is always April 1. We are now nearly six months beyond that date and have not yet reached the half-way mark, a clear indication that hiring by American employers has not picked up. In years gone by, the supply of H-1B visas would have been exhausted on April 1, the first day of filing. First-day demand has been as much as double or triple the number of visas actually available.

Not anymore. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available for individuals who have earned advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities. Interestingly, USCIS has received 16,700 H-1B petitions for individuals with advanced degrees. The fact that the 20,000 “advanced degree” H-1B visas will soon be used up hardly matters: advanced degree candidates can also tap into the more than 30,000 regular H-1B visas that will still be available. Although these visas were quickly used up in years gone by, H-1B visas will continue to be available for eligible foreign workers for the next few months.

Contact David McCauley at dpm@hawaiilawyer.com or at (808) 531-8031 for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Robert Thomas, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert | Attorney Advertising

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