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All of this year's H-1B visas have already been taken

All of this year's H-1B visas have already been taken”

"On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master's cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019".

In 2013-14 the USCIS had to resort to a lottery mechanism, as the number of applications far exceeded the annual quotas.

Applications for the visa, which is frequently used in the tech industry by highly-skilled foreign workers, opened on April 2 for a five day period. The second lottery chose from roughly 1.70 lakh applications. Evidence is sought on whether the occupation for which visa was being sponsored was "specialized".

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that oversees lawful immigration in the country, said it received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period for fiscal year 2018-19.

The vast majority of H-1B applications are for workers from India, with about 302,000 coming in past year, federal government data shows.

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The applications were invited by the USCIS on April 2.

Only 85,000 H-1B visas are granted annually - 20,000 of which are reserved for master's degree holders.

The cause of the decline is unclear, but a number of factors could have contributed to the application drop, including uncertainty about the visa's future.

The USCIS said in that same memo that it may limit the length of the visa to shorter than three years based the information an employer provides. "The odds for the advanced degree cases are somewhat higher because these filings get a second change for selection, if they are not chosen in the initial lottery. The overall chance of selection this season is approximately 45 per cent".

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