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H-1B visa cap reached within first week on Tuesday

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 [1]. Tech firms such as Intel [2] have pushed to raise caps, others such as the IEEE-USA [3], 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.