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H-1B visa cap for 2012 reached ahead of last year's pace

Many professional workers who reside in countries other than the United States seek to come to the Miami and other parts of the U.S. to work via H-1B visas. Each year the U.S. makes 65,000 of these temporary work permits available to individuals who are hired for a job in the U.S. that requires at least a Bachelor's degree. These visas often go to foreign tech workers. Due to a treaty, 6,800 of the 65,000 visas are specifically allocated for people from Singapore and Chile. Individuals who have attained Master's degrees in the U.S. are eligible for an additional 20,000 H-1B visas.

The fiscal year begins October 1, of each year. Individuals interested in securing an H-1B visa can start applying 180 days before that date, April 1, of each year.

This past November, less than two months after the start of the fiscal year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the statutory cap for the 65,000 available H-1B visas for 2012 had been reached. The cap on the 20,000 visas made available to those with Master's degrees was reached in an ever shorter period of time, on October 18, 2011.

Because the visas generally run out quickly, it is imperative that any individual interested in obtaining an H-1B visa work quickly to secure one for the next fiscal year. An experienced immigration attorney can assist in the matter. He or she may also be able to provide other immigration alternatives for professional workers who are interested in lining something up before the start of the next fiscal year, October 1, 2012.

Source: Information Week, "H-1B Visas: No More Until Late 2012," Paul McDougall, Dec. 13, 2011

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