Washington: The US received nearly 50,000 packages of H-1B visa applications on the very first day, which is reflective of the sudden surge in demand of the country’s most sought after work visas.
The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), officially, has not come out on the number of H-1B applications received by it since April 1 when it started accepting petitions for it for the fiscal 2014 beginning October 1, 2013.
According to an estimate provided by FCi Federal, a Virginia-based government services and technology provider, which is supplying personnel to assist the USCIS in processing the H-1B petitions, on the first day it received some 50,000 packages, the Computer World reported.
A package can contain one H-1B application to multiple applications, but based on the past experience, a package on an average contains 1.2 H-1B petitions, it reported.
The number of packages received fell sharply on the second day, Computer World said.
According to Congressional approved mandate, USCIS can reward a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014 beginning October 1, 2013.
In addition, the USCIS can also reward 20,000 H-1B visas for those having masters or higher degree from US academic institutions. This limit on H-1B visas has been in place for more than two decades now.
The USCIS received H-1B petitions at its two centres — the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center – where its officials described business as usual.
Last month, USCIS had said based on feedback from a number of stakeholders, it anticipates that it may receive more petitions than the H-1B cap between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013.
As such if USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, it will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit, the federal agency said.
The lottery for the H-1B cap was last used in April 2008, when the cap was filled on the first day itself.
Last year in 2012, it took 73 days for the USCIS to fill in the cap, while in took 235 days to receive applications to fill the 65,000 H-1B numbers in 2011; 300 days in 2010, and 264 days in 2009. In 2008 and 2007 the caps were reached in the first few days.