President Obama Discusses H-1B Program with India's Prime Minister Modi

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Posted by Zuzana Geremes, Paralegal

 

President Obama concluded his three-day visit to India on January 27, 2015 where he met, among others, with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With regards to US immigration issues, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi touched on the topic of the H-1B visas.  In particular, the Times of India online edition dated January 26, 2015 mentions: “President Barack Obama has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will look into India's concerns on the H-1B visa issue as part of his comprehensive immigration reform.”

 

The Times of India online edition also quotes Ben Rhodes, US Deputy National Security Advisor, as saying:  "I think what the President indicated is this is the type of issue (H-1B)  that we have approached through the context of comprehensive immigration reform and so, given his ongoing efforts to work with Congress in pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform, we would be incorporating these types of issues in that process and would be in touch with the Indian government as that moved forward.”

 

The issue of the H-1B visas is of particular importance to Indian nationals as Indian nationals comprise the largest number of users of H-1B visas.  According to the USCIS report titled “Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers” for Fiscal Year 2012 posted on the USCIS’ website, 64% of the beneficiaries of the H-1B petitions approved in fiscal year 2012 (the latest year such data is available) were born in India. H-1B visa program is used by US businesses to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, including, but not limited to: scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

 

The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit "cap" of 65,000 visas each fiscal year.  The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.  Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities, or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization, are not subject to this numerical cap.

 

This year, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2016 cap on April 1, 2015.  Petitioning employers may file an H-1B petition no more than six months in advance of the employment start date, which is October 1, 2015.

 

We encourage prospective H-1B employers and beneficiaries to contact Kolko & Associates, PC with their H-1B related questions or issues well before the April 1, 2015 filing deadline so as to allow ample time to address the intricacies of the H-1B process.

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