Fiscal 2005 H-1Bs Likely to Stay Open for Several More Weeks

AILA has been advised that it is likely to be “several weeks” before the filing of cap-subject H-1B petitions is cut off for fiscal 2005. The reason that it is not being cut off sooner, despite the upsurge in H-1B filings, is the recapture of unused Singapore/Chile free trade numbers.

Source:AILA InfoNet at Doc. No. 04092065 (Sep. 20, 2004)

USCIS Provides New Regulations for VWP Travelers

The deadline for the law that would require all VWP participating countries to produce and issue passports with biometric identifiers was extended by President Bush until October 2005. However, as of October 26, 2004, all travelers from the 27 participating countries in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will be required to either present a machine-readable passport or a valid U.S. visa at a port of entry. Those who have a valid U.S. visa will not be required to have a machine-readable passport.

In addition to the above-stated regulation, VWP travelers will also be required to take part in the US-VISIT program and will be required to have a digital photograph and fingerscan taken at a port of entry.

USCIS Announces FY 2005 H-1B processing

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received 45,900 H-1B petitions that will count against the Congressionally-mandated cap for fiscal year 2005 (October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005). The limit in fiscal year 2005 is 65,000.

Established by the Immigration Act of 1990, the H-1B visa category allows U.S. employers to augment the existing labor force with highly skilled temporary workers. H-1B workers are admitted to the United States for an initial period of three years, which may be extended for an additional three years. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors.

The Congressionally-mandated cap limits the number of requests for initial employment that USCIS may approve each year. Petitions seeking extensions or modifications to current H-1B employment are not counted against the cap. In addition, persons working for employers statutorily exempt from the cap (such as institutions of higher education, or nonprofit research organizations) are not counted against the cap.