It’s no secret, the H-1B visa is one of the most popular visas available. When you look at the relatively simple eligibility requirements, the long duration of stay, and the visa’s portability, it’s easy to see why this is the case. However, one of the major impediments to obtaining this visa is the H-1B cap. In this article, we will discuss why the H-1B has an annual cap, how it works, and what you should do if you are selected.
The H-1B cap is a numerical limit placed on the amount of foreign workers authorized to work in the United States annually under H-1B status. The H-1B cap was created with the Immigration Act of 1990. The act was meant to allow the employment of non-immigrant visa participants by a U.S employer. The cap initiated on October 1, 1991 and had first reached its maximum of 65,000 in 1997. Check for H1B Visa Process in UT Evaluators
In October of 1998, the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (AC-21) sought to increase the cap in order to meet U.S. hiring needs. The act was approved and had temporary increased the amount of available H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000.
Though the quota was further pushed to 195,000 by the 21st Century Act in 2000 to accompany an even greater demand for workers. However this number did not remain at 195,000, in 2004 the H-1B quota was reorganized back to 65,000 visas available.
The H-1B Visa
In 2004 the cap was reached less than five months after opening date. Ever since then the cap has reached maximum within months after opening. Currently, the H-1B Cap dedicates 6,800 of the 65,000 H-1B1 visas for citizens of Chile and Singapore. This exception exists because Chile and Singapore are listed under the free trade agreement.
Any unused H-1B visas from the Chile and Singapore category are added to the next fiscal year. These H-1B visas are distributed in the first 45 days of the next fiscal year which actually allows for the USCIS to grant more than 65,000 H-1Bs. For H1B Visa Evaluation Visit here
The Master’s Cap
Additionally, anyone who has a master’s degree or higher (advanced degree) in their field will have their petition entered into the master’s cap. This is an addition to the cap of 20,000 slots (essentially bringing the total cap to 85,000 available visas). Petitions will be chosen from among all other petitions for those with advanced degrees.
Any that are not chosen will be re-entered into the regular cap of 65,000 which takes place afterward. Essentially, this means that your petition will have two chances of being selected. This is the only way that you can increase your odds of selection in the H-1B cap.
The three main requirements for the master’s section of the H-1B cap are:
A. You must have received your master’s degree from a U.S. institution
B. That institution must be accredited by a nationally-recognized agency
C. The institution must be either public or non-profit