The United States has stopped accepting requests for H1-B specialty work visas because its quota of 65,000 visas for 2006 has been reached.
The government's immigration services agency said Friday, any further visa requests that are received will have to wait until late next year.
The specialty work visa program allows American companies to hire skilled workers from abroad with advanced skills, including scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. The 65,000 visas granted annually normally can be extended for up to six years.
Congress decides how many visas are to be issued. In addition to 65,000 regular H1-B visas, It also has approved an additional 20,000 work permits each year for foreigners who hold an advanced degree (master's or doctorate) from an American college or university.