Applications for the H-1B work visa — used extensively by Indian IT professionals — for the fiscal beginning October 1, would be accepted beginning April 2, a federal immigration agency announced on Tuesday.

The congressionally mandated numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2012-13 is 65,000, as has been in the previous years.

Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals, who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said H-1B applications will be considered accepted on the date it takes possession of a properly filed petition with correct fee and not the date on which it was sent.

“If the number of applications received exceeds the numerical cap, USCIS will randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the pool of petitions received on the final receipt date,” USCIS said in a statement, adding that it will reject cap subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.

Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated non-profit entities, non-profit research organisations or governmental research organisations, USCIS said.

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