The cap for H-1B visas for highly skilled temporary foreign workers for the upcoming federal fiscal year was again reached within a week, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Tuesday. H-1B visas are frequently used by IT workers, and the technology industry has been pushing to increase the cap saying there are not enough US workers for the jobs.
H-1B visas for the upcoming federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will now be awarded via a computer-based lottery process.
The visas are capped at 65,000 per year plus another 20,000 for holders of advanced degrees for a total of 85,000.
Last year, the visa cap was also reached within a week, and experts anticipated the cap would be quickly reached again this year. USCIS received 172,500 petitions last year for H-1B visas.
However, H-1B visas have proven contentious. Tech firms such as Intel have pushed to raise caps, others such as the IEEE-USA, a unit of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, have called for expanding the green card program rather than raising the H-1B cap.