We have discussed H-1B work visas — and their popularity — on this blog before. They allow people to enter the country for three years and work for a company that sponsors them. A specialized occupation is required to earn an H-1B work visa and just because someone gets one, doesn’t mean they are a shoe-in for residency on a more permanent basis.
However, H-1B visas routinely see large application numbers. From April 2010 to April 2011, about 11,200 H-1B visa applications were sent in to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That number nearly quadrupled during the same time frame to roughly 42,000 applications.
With a capacity of 65,000, H-1B visas have a fairly low ceiling for something that is in such high demand. Officials are predicting that H-1B visa applications will surpass the limit in the very near future, possibly by the end of June. That means there could be many talented people from other countries who do not get the chance to work in the U.S.
But there are many positive aspects to this wave in H-1B applications. As some officials are claiming, it is a sign of an improving economy. Another thing to take into consideration about H-1B visas is that there are some flexible aspects to the cap. Depending on education level and other circumstances, an H-1B visa can be granted beyond the 65,000 limit.
In addition, an H-1B visa extension can be granted that permits someone to stay in the country beyond three years — and it also allows for “dual intent,” which allows an applicant to hold on to their H-1B visa while applying for permanent status. Again, earning an H-1B visa does not guarantee a green card; but it is a great first step for many immigrants who want to fulfill their dreams in the U.S.
Source: Migration Expert, “High Demand for U.S. Work Visas,” May 30, 2012