Skilled worker visa demand exceeds supply in five days

The demand for overseas skilled worker US visas outstripped the mandated supply for the entire year within just five days of being open to applications, resulting in the government deciding to use a lottery system in order to award them to the lucky recipients.

The federal agency in charge of the applications, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said on Thursday that the H-1B US visas saw the amount of petitions surpass the available 85,000 – a cap that is set by Congress – in five days since the applications opened at the beginning of April. This is the fourth year in a row that demand for the US visa has outstripped supply in under a week, resulting in a lottery process being initiated, and the same was expected to happen this year.

A date has not yet been set for the lottery, which will be a random selection process done by computer, and the total number of applications received has not been revealed. H-1B US visas are highly popular with businesses in the United States, and are meant to be used to fill positions for which there are no qualified American workers available, most of which tend to be in the technology sector although they are also made use of in other industries such as advertising and architecture.

New York law firm partner, Roxanne Levine, says the H-1B cap being reached within just five days is a demonstration of the thirst for talented and skilled foreign workers in the US economy.