A new batch of US H-1B visa applications will be accepted from 1 April 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) have announced. There is an annual quota of 85,000.
With the demand for these visas and limited quota, it is likely that there will be a lottery for the available visas and many applications submitted will not be considered for further processing. Applications could take several months to process and interested candidates and employers are encouraged to prepare as soon as possible.
H-1B visas are to employ graduate level employees to work as IT Consultants, engineers, financial analysts, scientists, software developers and in other skilled professions. The annual 85,000 quota consists of 65,000 set aside for those with at least a bachelors degree or equivalent, with a further 20,000 reserved for people with advanced degrees from US educational institutions.
H-1B visas are valid for a period of three years with an option to extend for a further three years. They can also be extended beyond the six year period, provided a company has sponsored a candidate’s application for permanent residency.
Spouses of H-1B Holders to get working rights
From 26 May 2015, spouses of H-1B and H4 visa holders will be able to apply for work .
To qualify, the spouse must:
(a) Have an approved I-140, or
(b) Have extended H1B status beyond six years based on a PERM labor certification or I-140 pending for at least 365 days.
Employment Authorization applications will be accepted from 26 May 2015, not before, but applicants are encouraged to begin preparing applications early.