11,000 H1-B visas available even as year ends

For the first time in several years, thousands of H-1B visas, the once most sought after by Indian professionals in the US, still remains unused, even as the year comes to an end.

About 11,000 H-1B visa slot still remains available for qualified applicants for the fiscal 2010-2011, says the latest figures released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

This is in the Congressional mandated-general category of 65,000 H-1B visas. Last year the cap was reached on December 21, 2009. However the cap has almost reached in the H-1B Master’s Exemption category. So far USCIS has received 19,700 applications in this category against the Congressional mandated cap of 20,000.

The latest figures indicate that the employment situation in the country has still not improved. Till a couple of years ago, the cap in H-1B visas was reached in the first few days of USCIS starting to accept applications. For instance, in 2008, the cap was reached on April 8 and the USCIS had to resort to computerized draw of lots to determine successful applicants.