The United States government on Friday announced that registration for H-1B visa application for the financial year 2021-’22 will begin on March 9, PTI reported. It will continue till March 25.

The results will be notified to successful applicants by March 31. The visas will continue to be granted through the lottery system. The applicants will be able to join their workplaces on October 1, when the American financial year begins.

H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows American companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. It is highly sought-after by Indian professionals.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services had announced in January that it will prioritise salary and skills for granting H-1B visas, instead of following the lottery procedure. The agency said the move will safeguard the interests of American workers and ensure that the most highly-skilled foreign workers benefit from the visa programme.

However, the agency said on Thursday that it needed more time to develop and implement the modified rule. “DHS [Department of Homeland Security] is delaying the effective date of this final rule from March 9, 2021, to December 31, 2021,” its statement read. “The delay will also provide more time for USCIS [US Citizenship and Immigration Services] to train staff and perform public outreach as well as give stakeholders time to adjust to the new rule.”

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The US immigration agency is allowed to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in a year. Additionally, it can also issue 20,000 visas to foreign students who have studied science, technology, engineering and mathematics at an American university.

The Joe Biden administration is expected to liberalise the Donald Trump-era visa policies. Last month, it had withdrawn the ban on work authorisation for H4 visa holders, who are spouses of those possessing H-1B work visas.