H1-B lottery in effect from April 2007

Courier services and beat postmen covering zip code 05478 in the small town of St. Albans, Vermont, USA, are in for shock on Monday, April 2.

The truckloads of mail — many times more than their daily quota — that they at will be called to deliver at 75, Lower Welden St, won’t be an All Fools’ joke.

On their prompt delivery will depend the feats and fortunes of many Indian and U S I-T companies, not to speak of the peripatetic Indian computer jock. They will mostly be applications from Indian and US firms for the infamous H1-B visa.

A notification by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that it will apply a lottery system if the number of H1-B applications exceed the annual 65,000 quota has led to a scramble among IT firms and their attorneys to line up applications this weekend to be delivered to the USCIS office in St. Albans by April 2.

A separate USCIS office in outside Dallas, Texas, which handles southern and western states will similarly be flooded by H1-B applications.

H1-B petitions for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 H1B cap, which is to begin on October 1, 2007, can be filed six months in advance (i.e. April 1, 2007). Because April 1st falls on a Sunday this year, the USCIS has said it will treat all petitions received on both Saturday, March 31st, and Monday, April 2nd, as if they were filed on the first business day in the filing period.

A March 21 alert sent by the American Immigration Lawyers Association noted that USCIS has stated that “if a sufficient number of petitions to exhaust the quota is received on the first day, the USCIS will apply the ‘random selection’ lottery to petitions received on the first and second days as provided for in the regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(8)(ii)(B).”

That note, along with similar alerts from other immigration lawyers, has triggered the rush. One senior IT executive of a New Jersey-based firm told ToI he would with his attorneys all tomorrow appending his signature to 500 H1-B applications – ”that’s 3000 signatures at six per application.”

Executives at both U.S and Indian IT companies have little doubt that demand for IT workers will again outstrip supply this year. IT managers say demand is highest in dot net, java and identity management.

“H1-B workers hardly need to be on the bench for a week…they get getting placements at $ 65-70 an hour,” one manager said.

Indian IT firms such as Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Satyam, and Cognizant, plus a host of middling “body shop” firms, typically file hundreds of H1-B petitions on behalf of employees who are later sent (if the application succeeds) to the U.S for on site work.

In the past few years the 65,000 H1-B cap has proved to be inadequate. IT firms are now resorting to block petitions in advance to have ”ready-to-fly” workers to meet project deadlines. They are also using other business worker visa categories for the purpose.

The US Congress in its current sessions is again considering legislation to increase the H1-B quota, after the move was scuttled in the last Congress.

Original article here

10 Comments

  1. ish April 3, 2007

    This proposal is not acceptable at all since such a frequent change in the H1-B Visa policy will put the future of many aspiring candidates at stake. Atleast, the proposal should not come into effect within next couple of years so that the concerned authorities can think over this proposal with calculated measures and adequate steps.

  2. VSB April 4, 2007

    Looks like highly skilled program is running out of scope for many foreign professionals. Lottery is not a good thing to implement in IT sectors as the chance of losing the people is high.

  3. S Rao B April 5, 2007

    I hope it is better option. Americans should not realise that they are indirectly helping to India to grow economically strong. We need few more years like this. After some time, We can expect Americans(IT Professionals) for Indian visa’s sothat our economy will grow like any thing by getting Tax from foreign professionals.

    As US Presiden desires that “India’s leadership is needed in a world that is hungry for freedom” in his India visit, We should acive this soon. So my dear Indians, don’t expect that US should increase the H1B visa’s for ever and pls expect that they should not in position to Filled regular H1B cap quota itself.

  4. Max April 9, 2007

    As per my understanding,

    out of 65K allocations, 10K has been reserved by Australia, 6K for Singapore, which leaves only 50K for other countries.

    Not to mention that there is a tight competition btw India and china to get as much as they could. Besides all the other reserved quota for 20k for Advance Education graduates tightens the count even to worse senario as available seats as 30K.

    Here would be bottle neck. Inspite of years of hardwork and potentials, when its very close to achiving our goals.. how can anyone take chances of LUCK. That too..

    30,000 out of 165000 (200k – 35k reservation).

    conclusion, one out of 6 ppl who have applied would make it thru. That too not because of their ability BUT LUCK.

  5. san April 14, 2007

    I guess the 20k cap is over and above the 65k cap.
    Also my understanding is the general quotas available is 58k.

  6. Tehseen April 14, 2007

    Wait & see time seprate chalk from cheese.

  7. manoj kumar May 22, 2007

    i am in opposition to Lottery system because how can American govt be sure that they are picking up the right people, unless itherwise if they are thinking to bring cheap labor to their country? this is totally incorrect and injustice done to the deserving candidates.

  8. Manoj June 7, 2007

    and what about those candidates who are spending their time and money in the U.S. to get a U.S. degree? why should they be treated in the same lottery scheme as the candidates who are being sent by the Indian IT firms? This is ridiculous

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