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Indians grab maximum number of H-1B visas

Washington: Indian professionals grabbed one-third of the H-1B visas in 2009, even as there was a slump for the most coveted US work visas in the past two years.

For the second year in running, there appears to be a low key response to the US HS-1B visas with only 24,200 applications being received until July 2.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received some 10,400 applications against the Congressional cap of 20,000 for individuals with advanced degrees.

After the first five days of having started to accept applications, UCSIC had received just 13,500 H-1B petitions in the general category and 5,600 in the advanced degree category.

Until May 14, the USCIS had received 19,000 petitions in the general category and 8,100 in the advanced degree category.

US businesses use the H-1B programme to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

In the fiscal 2009, the Department of Homeland Security said, as many as 123,002 Indians were issued H-1B visas out of a total of 339,243.

Thus, India accounted for 36.3 per cent of the total H-1B visas issued in 2009. However, in actual terms, the number of Indians issued H-1B visas in 2009 dropped by more than one fifth since 2007.

Coinciding with the general economic recession in the US, there has been a sharp drop in the number of Indian professionals receiving the most coveted H-1B work visas between the years 2007 and 2009, latest official figures have revealed.

Despite the drop of over 34,000 H-1B visas in two years, India continues to be the leading country to get the maximum number of this category of work visas for professionals and is a way ahead of other nations of the world, an analysis of the latest figures released by the Department of Homeland Security reveal.

In the fiscal 2007, as many as 157,613 Indians were issued the H-1B visas, while in 2008, the number dropped to 154,725.

This sharp drop has also resulted in decrease in short-term resident non-immigrants. In 2009, 364,757 Indians were in the US in this category, as against 425,826 the previous year in 2008.

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