The new President was one of the supporters of an Immigration Bill in 2007 which, if passed, would have raised the annual H-1B quota to 180,000 visas from the current 65,000
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) January 21, 2009
With the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama, Philadelphia-based immigration attorney Morley J. Nair is optimistic that the chances have brightened for a much-anticipated increase in H-1B visa numbers. Attorney Nair believes that there are several reasons for this to happen in spite of the slump in the US economy and hike in unemployment.
"The new President was one of the supporters of an Immigration Bill in 2007 which, if passed, would have raised the annual H-1B quota to 180,000 visas from the current 65,000," Attorney Nair pointed out. "Secondly, he has spoken against granting tax breaks to employers who outsource jobs to overseas companies. Such a move would help create new jobs in the US, fueling the need to bring in more foreign professionals."
H-1B visas are granted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to foreign nationals to work in "specialty occupations" (occupations that require a minimum U.S. bachelor's degree or equivalent). At the present time, the worldwide annual quota is 65,000 visas, out of which 6,800 are reserved for nationals of Singapore and Chile. In addition to this, there is a special quota of 20,000 visas available for holders of master's or higher degree from US graduate schools. Further, Petitions filed by certain exempt employers are not subject to this quota.
The demand for these visas has far exceeded the supply in recent years. In 2007, in the first two days of filing, 123,480 H1B petitions were received and USCIS had to stop accepting further petitions. In 2008, the filing period was kept open for five days, and more than 163,000 petitions were filed, including 31,200 against the advanced degree quota. In both years, a lottery was conducted to pick enough petitions to meet the quota caps. If a petition did not get picked in the lottery, there was no option for the employer, but wait for the next year.
Attorney Nair added that President Obama's choice of pro-H1B Gov. Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security was a significant pointer towards the likelihood of a boost in H1B visa numbers.
"There is yet another indicator," Attorney Nair said. "Candidate Obama had favored doubling of basic research spending over the next decade. A large number of researchers in US universities are foreigners, and it would be in the best interests of our country to keep them here and eventually help them become American citizens. The initial vehicle for them would be a non-immigrant employment visa such as the H-1B classification, and then granting of permanent residence and eventual citizenship."
The Law Offices of Morley J. Nair, the immigration law firm founded by Attorney Nair, has been in existence for more than 11 years, and has a track record of processing thousands of H-1B petitions and hundreds of permanent residence (popularly known as "Green Card") cases, on behalf of both corporate and individual clients all over the US.
"The filing opens for H-1B petitions on April 1 for employment to start on October 1," Attorney Nair said. "By the employment start date, we will be in the fourth quarter of 2009, and the general expectation is that the economy would be out of recession by that time and would be able to readily absorb these new H-1B employees."
Attorney Morley Nair urged potential petitioners to get ready to file the cap-subject H-1B Petitions on April 1 or as soon thereafter as possible because, going by the trend of recent years, the quota could get capped in a few days.