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H-1B losing sheen due to downturn?

The H-1B visas coveted by highly-skilled professionals mainly from India appear to be losing its sheen thanks to the economic downturn in the US when for the first time in years there were fewer takers even one week after authorities began accepting applications.

world Updated: Apr 10, 2009 20:43 IST

The H-1B visas coveted by highly-skilled professionals mainly from India appear to be losing its sheen thanks to the economic downturn in the US when for the first time in years there were fewer takers even one week after authorities began accepting applications.

The US has received only 42,000 petitions against the mandated cap of 65,000 in sharp contrast to the previous years when the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had received several times the Congress-mandated quota.

Previously authorities had to even resort to a lottery system to decide the fate of successful applicants. Last year the quota was filled in two days.

The current economic downturn in the US and the general anti-H-1B atmosphere prevailing in the country are being cited for the lacklustre response to the special visa filings, which in previous years had experienced a mad rush among IT experts mainly from India.

Also, another dampener has been the provisions of the mega stimulus package under which companies receiving federal grant money has been barred from hiring new people under H-1B visas.

“USCIS has received approximately 42,000 H-1B petitions counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap. The agency continues to accept petitions subject to the general cap,” USCIS said in a statement.