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Apr 082008

H1-B Visa program, the scourge of American software programmers and other professionals, has reached its cap of 65,000 within seven days of opening the gates for fiscal 2009.

Most likely, the cap was reached on April 1 itself although the official announcement from USCIS came today.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said today that it had received enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2009.

USCIS said it had also received over 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the “advanced degree” exemption.

Before running the random selection process, USCIS will complete initial data entry for all filings received during the filing period ending on April 7, 2008. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the precise day on which it will conduct the random selection process.

USCIS will carry out the computer-generated random selection process for all cap-subject petitions received.  USCIS will select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the “advanced degree” exemption limit. USCIS will reject, and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, unless found to be a duplicate.   USCIS will handle duplicate filings in accordance with the interim final rule published on March 24, 2008 in the Federal Register.

The agency will conduct the selection process for “advanced degree” exemption petitions first. All “advanced degree” petitions not selected will be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

While Microsoft, Intel, Google and Continue reading »

Apr 082008

Most folks would be loath to join the U.S. armed forces in the midst of a war where soldiers are getting their limbs, heads and bodies blown off in a faroff land, right?

So, what does the U.S. Army do?

In desperation, the U.S. Army has been forced to hire criminals, convicts, high-school failures and the like or pay hefty bonuses to retain existing soldiers.

As Steve Coll writes in the latest issue of New Yorker (April 14, 2008 P.21):

In 2006, the Army granted eight thousand three hundred and thirty “moral waivers” to new recruits, meaning that it had accepted that number of volunteers with past criminal  charges or convictions. The percentage of high school graduates willing to serve is falling sharply from year to year; so are the aptitude-exam scores of new enlistees. To persuade soldiers and young officers to reenlist after overlong combat tours, the Army’s spending on retention bonuses increased almost ninefold from 2003 to 2006.

Wonder if the U.S. Army will turn to the 20 million illegals in the country next because the Iraq war is unlikely to end anytime soon.