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H-1B Visas Hit the Cap, Sending Companies to Plan B

H-1B Visas Hit the Cap, Sending Companies to Plan B
Photograph by Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg

For Silicon Valley, a day of ritual disappointment came on June 12: The U.S. announced that the slots for 2013 H-1B visas had all been filled.

On the first business day in April, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services opens the rounds of petitioning for these coveted visas for highly skilled foreign workers. The agency awards the 85,000 visas on a first-come, first-served basis and companies scramble to get in their applications for foreign hires as quickly as they can. (Human resources managers, knowing the cap was close to being filled, worked through the weekend, racing to file.) The cap has been the same since 2004, with 65,000 slots for foreign hires and 20,000 spaces reserved for graduates of U.S. universities.