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  1. Despite the H-1B cap, some employers are still able to obtain H-1B visas for their new employees.

  2. USCIS to start requiring passport style photos on September 1, 2004.

  3. H-1B Cap



1.
Despite the H-1B cap, some employers are still able to obtain H-1B visas for their new employees.

Despite the H-1B cap, some employers are still able to obtain H-1B visa status for new employees this year. Although the annual limit of 65,000 H-1B visas has been met for the current visa year, some employers are still able to obtain H-1B visa status for new employees without having to wait for the next visa year. Here are some examples:

  1. A foreign worker who is already in the United States and holds H-1B visa status with another employer. If a new employer wishes to hire that employee, the new company may file an H-1B application for him/her, as long as the first company was not cap-exempt or if both the old and new employers are cap exempt.
  2. The company is a non-profit entity that has an affiliation with an institution of higher education and wishes to apply for an H-1B for a person who is either in the United States in H-1B or other visa status, or is overseas (and thus holds no visa status).
  3. The company is applying to extend a current employee’s H-1B visa status.

 

2. USCIS to start requiring passport style photos on September 1, 2004.

USCIS to start requiring passport style photos on September 1, 2004 . Starting on that date, the USCIS will reject all visa applications that are submitted with old, ADIT style photos. The difference between the two types of photos is that the passport style photo shows the individual’s full face and has the individual looking directly at the camera, while in contrast, the ADIT type photo shows a ¾ face view and the applicant is looking to the left of the camera. This move by the USCIS will result in one standard type photograph for all visa purposes, and will end the confusion that has resulted over the years from the two different photo requirements. The USCIS has announced that any applications that are submitted before September 1, 2004 may include the old ADIT type photos, although it reserves the right to request new photos.

 


3. H-1B Cap


As of March 7, 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) reported that approximately 72,000 H-1B workers have been approved against the 195,000 limit for FY 2001, which ends on September 30, 2001. On October 17, 2000, Public Law 106-313, the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), which significantly changed the H-1B program and the employment-based immigration program, was signed into law. AC21 increases the yearly number of H-1B nonimmigrant visas to 195,000 for FY 2001, 2002 and 2003, before returning to 65,000 in FY 2004.

Prior to the passage of AC21, 107,500 H-1B visas were available for FY 2001 before returning to 65,000 in FY 2002. In addition, the law exempts any petition filed before September 1, 2000 and any alien employed by an institution of higher education or certain research organizations from counting against the FY 2001 cap.

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