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Next year's 85,000 high-skilled visas snapped up in days

By Erica Werner

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 7 2014 1:24 p.m. MDT

Brochures and a miniature flag awaits immigrants arriving for a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, in New York. Businesses seeking highly skilled workers from overseas took less than a week to snap up all 85,000 visas available for next year.

Bebeto Matthews, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — Businesses seeking highly skilled workers from overseas took less than a week to snap up all 85,000 visas available for next year.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday that the cap on H-1B visas for the 2015 fiscal year had already been reached.

The agency began accepting applications April 1 for the highly coveted visas used for computer programmers, engineers and other skilled workers employed in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

It's no surprise that the cap was reached quickly. That's happened repeatedly in recent years and is a key issue that drove business executives to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform.

With sweeping immigration legislation stalled in Congress, some high-tech leaders have recently made pleas to lawmakers to increase H-1B visas.

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