Limits hit for highly skilled worker visas

Demand for highly skilled foreign workers has once again outstripped the nation’s annual limits.

The federal government announced Monday that it had received a sufficient number of petitions for H-1B visas from employers to meet legal caps for the fiscal year beginning in October. Demand quickly surpassed the government’s limits for this fiscal year as well.

By law, the government may not issue more than 65,000 H-1B visas per year, with some exceptions. Additionally, 20,000 more visas are available for those who have received graduate degrees from U.S. schools.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it will use a computer-generated process to randomly select petitions since it has received so many.

H-1B visas are reserved for foreigners who can work temporarily in specialty fields that require some level of theoretical or technical expertise. Many of these jobs, for example, require a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in experience or more.

Atlanta’s demand for these skilled foreign workers is among the highest in the nation, federal records show. Congress has been debating whether more H-1B visas should be made available, but related legislation is now stalled in Washington.