USCIS receives record number of H-1B applications

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) received a record number of petitions for H-1B visas this year, new figures show.

USCIS has revealed that more than 236,000 applications were made for H-1B visas, just five days after the programme window for the 2017 fiscal year was open. This is 3,000 more than last year, and far more than the 172,500 received the year prior to that.

However, only 85,000 visas will be allocated through this system – 20,000 of which will go to applicants who hold a master’s degree or higher.

This is the fourth consecutive year that applications for H-1B visas have surpassed the cap within a week of opening – a trend that has led for yet more calls on the government to extend the number of these visas granted each year.

“Reaching the H-1B cap within the first five days’ evidences that the U.S. economy is thirsting for the talent and skill of foreign nationals who contribute to our growth and job creation,” Roxanne Levine, a partner in a New York law firm that represents companies seeking the visas, told the New York Journal.

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa designed to allow US employers to recruit and employ foreign workers in specialty occupations or with special skills for up to six years. The majority of these visas go to workers in the technology field, but they can also be used for specialised positions in architecture, advertising, science, engineering and more.

Article by David Fuller