The United States will start accepting applications for 65,000 H-1B visas for skilled professionals coveted by Indian techies for fiscal 2011 from April 1.
"Cases will be considered accepted on the date that it takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee; not the date that the petition is postmarked," the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced.
The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the Congressionally mandated cap of 65,000.
If needed, USCIS will randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date, it said.
Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated non-profit entities, non-profit research organizations or governmental research organisations.
US businesses use the H-1B programme to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.