Proposal to White House to Extend Student Work Status

According to Computerworld, H-1B visa supporters have asked the Bush administration to extend the time that foreign graduates of U.S. universities can work pursuant to the optional practical training (OPT) of their F-1 student visas from one year to 29 months.  This plan would not increase H-1B numbers but ultimately increase their chances of obtaining an H-1B visa for the following year.

Currently, there are only 85,000 H-1B visa numbers available each year (65,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree and 20,000 for those with a master’s degree from a US institution).  Last year, the bachelor’s cap was reached on the first day that the government allowed the H-1B petition to be filed (April 1st).  It is anticipated that the cap will be reached on the first day this year as well. 

USCIS has announced that it will consider petitions filed within 5 business days of the final receipt date (the day that the cap is reached) to be included within the random selection process for the H-1B cap.  If April 1st is the anticipated receipt date, then this would mean that April 7th would be the last day this year for those seeking an H-1B visa number to file the petition.