Rush for H-1B visas is on

Applicants for H-1B visas — those that allow foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree to temporarily work at specialty jobs in the US — are facing fierce competition this year.

“There is a 60 percent increase in cases we receive this year compared with last year,” Los Angeles-based immigration attorney Meng Xiaojie wrote in an email to China Daily.

The H-1B visa application period for fiscal year 2016 started on April 1 and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that the congressionally mandated quota had already been reached and exceeded.

To meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemptions, USCIS will run a computer-generated lottery to randomly select the applications. Those picked can start work in October.

Last year, the US received a record 172,500 petitions, or 165 percent more than the cap. The previous record was in 2001 when 163,600 petitions were received with 51 percent of them rejected by lottery.

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