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The news was inevitable, but painful anyway, particularly for high-tech companies and their potential foreign employees. According to a June 11 press release, this fiscal year’s allotment of H-1B numbers will run out with the approval of petitions for new employment filed on or before April 9, 1999. Relief for American companies and universities, highly pressed for employees with math or science training, may have to await the beginning of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

There is a bright side for students in F or J classification whose change of status to H-1B is blocked by the shortfall in numbers. Until it can act on their petitions, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has announced that it will extend their status, which would otherwise have lapsed before new numbers become available on Oct. 1. [FOOTNOTE 1] 64 Fed. Reg. 32,151 (June 15, 1999). The notice also describes generally how the INS will handle H-1B petitions that it cannot approve this fiscal year for lack of numbers.

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