The application period of a popular visa program that allows highly skilled immigrants to live and work in the United States begins today, Monday, April 1st, 2019.
The program is run by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and as in previous year, the 65,000 cap year set by Congress is expected to be reached within a few days of the open application period. When the total applications received exceed the 65,000 cap, USCIS employs a lottery system to choose candidates among the applicants.
USCIS urges petitioners to “follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence.”
The H-1B program allows for US companies to employ foreign workers in high skilled occupations that have labor shortage within the US workforce. A maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas are granted on a lottery basis for those who apply each year. The H-1B visas expire after three years but are renewable for another period of three years.
The Trump administration has strongly criticized the H-1B program, saying it is highly abused by companies to the disadvantage of American workers.