Update on the additional 20,000 H-1B Visas to be added to this year's cap
As mentioned in our H-1B Visa Update last month an additional 20,000 H-1B visas were to be added to this year's 65,000 H-1B cap as mandated by Omnibus Appropriations Act for FY 2005. The regulation implementing these 20,000 H-1B numbers for the 2005 fiscal year was cleared last week by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)and has been sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for signature. Once this this guidance is published on the federal register by DHS, USCIS will begin accepting these additional 20,000 H-1B applications. It is anticipated that the DHS will review and sign this regulation very quickly. This regulation is expected to be published in the Federal Register as early as this week.
It is not known whether the 20,000 numbers will be made available to all H-1B applicants or just U.S. graduates with masters degrees or above, and what, if any, mechanism might be included to convert applications for 2006 numbers to applications for 2005 numbers. We will update you on these issues as soon as the DHS published the regulation to the Federal Register.