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News: USCIS Implements H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004

USCIS Implements H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004
May 5, 2005

The USCIS has finally announced new regulations implementing sections of the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004. The regulations take effect upon publication in the Federal Register and change the H-1B filing procedures not only for FY 2005 but for future years as well.

The regulations make available 20,000 new H-1B visas but only for foreign workers with a minimum of a Masterís level degree from a U.S. academic institution. These 20,000 new visas are in addition to the Congressionally mandated annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas.

The USCIS will now reopen the filing period for FY 2005 on Thursday, May 12, 2005 and make available the 20,000 new H-1B numbers but only to those aliens who have received a Masterís or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education.

Beginning in FY 2006 and for future years, the USCIS will exempt the first 20,000 H-1B petitions of alien beneficiaries who have a U.S. earned Master's or higher degree from that FY's cap.

If you have any questions about the procedures for obtaining one of the new FY 2005 exemptions, please contact James Tyler at 215-587-0160 as soon as possible. It is expected that the additional 20,000 visas will be used up very quickly. Employer should know that the USCIS will automatically treat a petition that does not obtain one of the 20,000 new FY 2005 visas as an automatic request for a FY 2006 visa.



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