The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has received enough number of applications to reach the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. This cap has been reached despite the recent negative developments surrounding the H-1B visas which could potentially impact the $150 billion Indian IT industry.
The USCIS had opened the window for receiving the applications on April 3 and the response from the applicants continues to mirror the trend shown in the last few years where it closed with a few days from the opening.
As in the past, USCIS will select the applicants based on random lottery system. It has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa US advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap. These developments come amidst recent changes in the H-1B regulations which include suspension of premium processing of H-1B visas for six months, restriction on entry level computer programmer and lastly heightened scrutiny for any possible cases of fraud or abuse of these work permits.
A statement from USCIS said, “US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require specialised knowledge.”
The issue of H-1B visas has become a challenging issue for the $150 billion Indian IT industry as the companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro are generally largest recipient of these work permits.
Nasscom, the Indian IT industry trade body had recently stated that the jobs undertaken by the Indian IT companies are complex or specialised and require professional degrees and has been the de facto requirement for years. It also felt that there likely to be any major impact from the recent changes in the H-1B visa regulations.