New H1B visa rules favour applicants with advanced degrees from US universities

Applicants have to electronically register with the immigration office and await selection for filing an H-1B application.

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New rules have been enforced by the US Immigration Office for H-1B work visas and quotas, in favour of applicants possessing advanced degrees from US institutions.

All H-1B applications subject to cap will henceforth have to be electronically registered. With effect from April 1, the order of selection of applications will be reversed.

The current practice is to first process applications from a pool of candidates with a cap of 65,000 first. After this, the separate quota of 20,000 for advanced degree (master’s or higher) holders is processed.

From now on, however, applicants holding advanced degrees will also be clubbed with the regular applicants. The separate quota of 20,000 will be touched only if some applicants with advanced degrees fail to get selected from the common pool.

The electronic registration is required to be done with the immigration office within the registration period specified and only the selected registrations will be allowed to file an H-1B application. The petitions for H-1B cap, for 2020 will be accepted from April 1 onwards.

With these new rules, the number of applicants with advanced degrees from American universities is expected to rise by about 5340, that is, 16 per cent.

The new rule will improve the efficiency of the visa process and will provide a better chance to those US organisations recruiting H-1B holders with an advanced degree from a US institution to be selected in the H-1B lottery, whenever there is additional demand for new H-1B visas.

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