NEW YORK: Sidharth, 21, a computer science engineering graduate from Delhi Technological University – formerly the Delhi College of Engineering – has received an approximately $186,000 job offer from Uber, based in San Francisco, California. That’s terrific for the young man, but the more important question is: will he get an H-1B visa in the annual lottery, applications for which begin April 1?
Sidharth, an alum of Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, in Delhi, who earlier did an internship with Uber, was quoted in Indian news reports that he’s thrilled with the job offer, has made plans to travel the globe from the money he makes off his job. He described the selection process as tough.
The hopes and ambitions of brilliant young men like Sidharth and other men and women like him who want to carve a career in the US, however, hinge on the fate of the H-1B visa program, with myriad proposals to reform it from members of Congress cutting across party lines. It’s likely that Congress will soon act upon it.
If, however, Congress fails to act by April 1, which is the cutoff date for H-1B applications for this year, then his fate would be decided by a lottery, in case the applications exceed 65,000, the annual limit at present for H-1B visa workers from overseas. An additional 20,000 visas are reserved for foreign students on F-1 visas who graduate from US educational institutions.
Last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions from students holding F1 visas.
On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the total 85,000 H-1B visas. It also announced it would reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first, for the F-1 visas. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
Last year, USCIS began premium processing for H-1B cases by May 16th.
The lucky ones who get the H-1B visa usually begin their job by October of the same year.
Sidharth will hope to be in California by this Fall. However, first he has to win the H-1B visa lottery.