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Demand is off to a slower start this year than previous years for H-1B visas that are used to bring in employees with college degrees and special skills such as technology workers.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting H-1B visa petitions for the 2012 fiscal year on April 1. However, only 5,900 petitions had been filed by Friday under the general H-1B visa cap of 65,000, and only 4,500 petitions had been filed under a 20,000 visa cap for those with master's degrees or higher.
In comparison, the USCIS had received 13,500 petitions under the 65,000 cap in fiscal year 2011 and 5,600 petitions under the 20,000 cap in the same time period -- between April 1, 2010 and April 8, 2010
Demand had been stronger in previous years. The caps were reached in one day for the 2008 fiscal year.
Staffing firms, including those that provide information technology workers, have been among those using H-1B visas.