The H1B Visa cap
by Michael Phulwani & Dev Viswanath
Aug 01, 2017 | 6994 views | 0 0 comments | 359 359 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The H1B Visa is a “specialty occupation” category that allows temporary status and work authorization for individuals who have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in a relevant curriculum to the job sought and that the job itself requires at a minimum a person with that education level.

The petitioner company must also be able to pay the prevailing wage for the position, which is determined by the Department of Labor so as not to displace eligible U.S. workers.

The standard cap for the H1B visa is 65,000. There are 6,800 H1B visas reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore through separate agreements with the United States. If those numbers are not utilized by those countries, then they are returned to the general H1B cap numbers.

In addition, there are 20,000 visas reserved for individuals with a master’s degree or higher. If those additional 20,000 visas are used, than the applicant’s petition is considered through a random lottery in the general 65,000 cap.

There is a random lottery for all H1B applicants. For Fiscal Year 2018, which actually starts on October 1, 2017, there were 199,000 applications. This is about 37,000 less petitions compared to Fiscal Year 2017.

The H1B visa is a dual-intent visa category. This means that a beneficiary of this particular visa has both the temporary intent to work in the United States and simultaneously may have the legitimate intent to also want to pursue permanent residence.

While most other non-immigrant and temporary U.S. visa categories require the intent of the applicant to return to their home country, the H1B stands apart and is sought after for its longterm flexibility as a career and life option for beneficiaries, as well as a solution for petitioners struggling to find willing and qualified employees.

Michael Phulwani and Dev Viswanath are attorney with New York City-based Banad Law Offices.

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