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US sees rise in demand for skilled-worker visas

April 10, 2012 - Washington

The United States has experienced a sharp rise in the petitions for skilled-foreign-worker visas since the first week of this year's application season.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services received a total of 25,600 petitions for H-1B visas since April 2, which is nearly twice as many as it had received for the first month during last year's application period.

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

Last week, the agency received 17,400 petitions in the general category and 8,200 petitions in the advances category after it began accepting visa petitions for jobs in computer programming and other high-tech fields, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the paper, the demand for the skilled-worker visas had fluctuated since the economic crisis, with the visa limit exhausted on the first few days of filing in 2007 and 2008.

In recent years, some US lawmakers have expressed concern about the visa program and whether foreign workers, especially in the software sector, were displacing qualified Americans.

But the increase in visa applications has shown the acceleration in activities in related businesses.


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