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Practice Note
 
Alice in the Wonderland? Where Are We Heading With the New H-1B 20,000 Exemption?

The current lack of information about the filing date for new H-1Bs has made our lives extremely difficult, and made attorneys job of advising clients next to impossible.

To begin with, USCIS announced on Friday, March 4th, that it was not going to accept applications for the new 20,000 H-1B visas authorized for Master's/PhDs graduating from US universities on March 8th, the effective date of the authorizing legislation.

On Monday, March 7th, USCIS advised that the 20,000 visas would NOT be limited to Masters/PhDs, and that the opening of the application period would be announced in a Federal Register notice to be published "soon".

We still do not know the exact basis for the announcement, but suspect it has to do with some USCIS assessment that they have already issued 20,000 Master/PhD visas in FY05, and that the "extra" 20,000 therefore do not have to be limited to this category, since the overall FY-05 allocations will satisfy the intent of the implementing legislation.

Therefore, here we are.  We previously thought that after March 8, 2005, 20,000 new quota will be available for people with U.S. master or Ph.D. degree.  Now, we are lost in the legal wonderland and can only be patient waiting for further publication from the USCIS.

 


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