New H-1B visa filing rule to give priority to workers with advanced degrees from US

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The US has announced a new H-1B visa filing rule from April under which priority would be given to foreign workers with advanced degrees from American universities.  The final rule reverses the order by which the US Citizenship and Immigration Services ,USCIS  selects H-1B petitions under the regular cap and the advanced degree exemption.

The new rule will go into effect on April 1.  USCIS Director Francis Cissna  said  US employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a US master’s or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas.

The change will result in an estimated increase of up to 16 per cent (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected petitions for H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a US institution of higher education.   

The H-1B visa, popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.  The number of H-1B visas granted annually is capped at 65,000, and another 20,000 are reserved for people who hold advanced degrees from US higher education institutions.