Have you applied for the H 1B visa?

Via Indiatimes.com

Most H1B visa seekers start pressing
the panic button in April and the feeling is that they must file their petition
on April 1, or within days of April 1 to get an H-1B visa. However, this is not
accurate. For example, last year, the H-1B quota was reached only in August.


If
you are a candidate, who is at present in the US on another status, note that
filing in April for an October 1 H-1B does not preserve status. In other words,
the H-1B candidate must have valid underlying status through October 1 in order
to wait in the US.
This is not to say that waiting is a good thing or that one
should wait until August, because there may or may not be, H-1Bs available at
that point. However, if one can file at some point during April, an H-1B should
be secured.

The H-1B quota only applies to those who are applying
for a new H-1B. It does not apply to those applying for H-1B transfers or to
certain individuals who have had the H-1B category in the last six
years.

If you are a candidate, who is at present in the US on another
status, note that filing in April for an October 1 H-1B does not preserve
status. In other words, the H-1B candidate must have valid underlying status
through October 1 in order to wait in the US.


The
average waiting period to get a green card is six years or longer and currently
there are over half a million application pending, according to Immigration
Voice, an advocacy group that tracks US government data

.

Otherwise, the candidate should wait abroad for his/her
H-1B. If you are an F-1 student on optional practical training (OPT) you need to
process an H-1B at this time i.e. in April in order to remain with the employer
past the expiration date of the OPT.

When the US Senate failed to
agree on changes to US immigration laws concerning illegal immigrants and border
control recently, these were not the only issues left pending. The question of
increase in H1-B quota was also left unanswered. The latest Bill has recommended
that the H-1B cap is lifted from annual 65,000 to 115,000 for 3 years.

Thereafter, the cap may rise up to 20% per year if the whole cap
(115,000) is used up in the prior year. If the cap is not reached, then the cap
in the following year will remain the same as the current year. It has to be
seen what happens to this proposal when the Senate debates the Bill further
after reconvening.

The average waiting period to get a green card is
six years or longer and currently there are over half a million application
pending, according to Immigration Voice, an advocacy group that tracks US
government data.

With economies in Asia and the South Pacific on the
rise, an exodus of foreign workers is taking place. Tired of waiting for US
permanent residence permit, people are either returning home or choosing to work
elsewhere overseas.

With the ‘baby boomer generation’
reaching retirement age, experts predict a shortage of skilled professionals to
replace them. About 70,000 IT students graduate out of US universities annually.

Many predict that the number won’t meet the need for a
projected 600,000 additional openings for IT professionals between 2002 and
2012, and the openings created by retirements.

They believe the
problem will spread unless the government allows more foreign workers to enter
the country, and speed up their residency process. Some critics, however, say
increasing the numbers of skilled foreign workers would depress wages and take
positions away from American workers.

“We should only issue
work-related visas if we really need them,” said Caroline Espinosa, a
spokeswoman with Numbers USA, a group pushing for immigration reduction.
“There are 2.5 million native born American workers in the math and
computer field who are currently out of work. It begs the question whether we
truly need foreign workers.”

In his February economic report,
President Bush outlined proposals to overhaul the system for employment-based
green cards. Bush’s proposals were to exempt spouses and children from the
annual limit of 140,000 green cards. Dependents make up about half of all green
cards issued annually.

Secondly, to replace the existing cap with a
flexible market based cap that responds to the needs employers have for
employing foreign labour. And finally, to raise the 7% limit for green cards
issued to nations such as India that have many highly skilled
workers.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued
its first H1B Cap Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, which begins October 1,
2006. The report shows that, at the end the day on April 3, 2006, the first
business day that FY2007 cap-subject cases could be filed, the USCIS received
1,631 H1B filings (subject to the 65,000 quota) and 340 Masters H1Bs (subject to
the 20,000.quota).


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