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US to issue 20,000 H1-B visas

March 08, 2005 08:58 IST

There is some good news for Indian and other foreign students passing out from American universities with masters or higher degrees. The US has announced it will issue 20,000 sought-after H1-B visas till September this year.

Under the new visa rules to be effective from Tuesday, foreign students having masters or higher degrees from US universities can apply for the non-immigration visa, which will allow them to work in the country to help maintain its competitive edge, immigration authorities said.

This fresh package of 20,000 visas will be in addition to the annual cap of 65,000 H1-B visas. It could benefit many Indian students looking for a job in the US after finishing their masters, doctoral or post-doctoral studies.

However, US institutions employing such people need to pay the 'American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Fee' of $1,500 besides a new 'Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee' of $500.

The sponsorship of a US employer is mandatory for applying for H1-B visa.

The H1-B visa is valid for three years and could be extended for another three. While holding the visa, a person can file an immigration petition for a permanent resident visa, also known as the green card.

The cap of 65,000 H1-B visas is usually reached by April or May.

T V Parasuram in Washington
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