The U.S. would start accepting applications for H-1B visa, the most sought after work visa by Indian IT professionals, for the financial year 2012 from April 1.

As mandated by the U.S. Congress, the fiscal year cap on H-1B petitions for 2012, beginning October 1, is 65,000.

The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from this cap, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement on Tuesday.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Such workers include scientists, engineers and computer programmers among others.

Software professionals from India are said to be the biggest beneficiary of this visa.

USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and will notify the public of the date on which numerical limit of the H-1B cap has been met, the statement said.

If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, it may on the final receipt date randomly select the number of petitions that will be considered for final inclusion within the cap, it said.

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