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Additional H-1B Numbers Not Limited to Master's Degree Holders
According to the USCIS press release on March 8, 2005, the 20,000 additional H-1B numbers that are authorized as of March 8, 2005 will NOT be limited to individuals holding a master's degree or higher from a U.S. institution. This means that, upon issuance of guidance in the Federal Register (forthcoming), the numbers will be available to any qualified H-1B applicant.
This has far-reaching consequences for Master's degree holders who were relying on a lower demand for the additional numbers. This also has the effect of freeing up some immediate numbers for non-U.S. master's degree holders.
If you have any employees with a need for an H-1B visa, please review eligibility with legal counsel immediately. There is a good possibility that the numbers will be exhausted as soon as they become available.