Vanishing US visas major worry for Indians

Only 1,364 visas are available for Master's Degree graduates, which is a cause of concern for Indian students.

world Updated: Jan 05, 2006 14:59 IST

The special category ofUSH-1B visas for Master's Degree graduates is fast disappearing.

There are only 1,364 visas available under the scheme, which could be a cause of concern for Indian post-graduate students.

According to the latest update from US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), as many as 16,478 visa petitions under the special H-1B category have been approved for Fiscal 2006 and another 2,158 pending as of the end of December 2005.

The full cap for 2006 under the H-1B Master's degree programme is 20,000 visas.

The rush for these visas before the limit runs out is apparent from the fact that while 3,302 such visas were available on November 29, 2005 only 1,364 visas remain on offer at present.

The annual cap on H-1Bs is currently 65,000 or down from 195,000 in financial year 2003 but Congress created a new exemption for 20,000 foreign nations earning a Masters or advanced degrees from American Universities.

Although the demand for H-1B is on the upswing, Congress has refused to go along with what the market is calling for and insisted upon by private business houses. Recently the US Senate added some 30,000 H-1B visas in its budget cutting legislation only to be ignored by the House of Representatives.

The measure could not clear the Conference Committee of the House and the Senate leaving open the only possibility of the measure becoming a part of a larger Immigration Reform Bill to be taken up by the legislature sometime in 2006, if this particular provision is going to be taken up at all.

First Published: Jan 05, 2006 10:35 IST