Current FY 2011 H-1B Count and "Cap-Gap" Issues

As of July 2, 2010, 24,200 petitions had been received by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) for the cap of 65,000. US CIS is reporting that it has also received 10,400 petitions against the U.S. Master's cap of 20,000. The current cap count is available here.
If the Master's cap is reached before the general H-1B cap is reached, Master's degree cases will not be rejected, but will count against the general cap. Once the H-1B cap is reached in both categories, however, no further H-1B petitions will be accepted until April 1, 2011. At that point, the earliest start date for new H-1B petitions will be October 1, 2011.
F-1 Student Cap-Gap Rules
Since many H-1B petitions are filed for foreign students currently working on a period of post-degree completion optional practical training (OPT), it may be helpful to remember that "cap-gap" rules apply to certain students whose employers have timely filed an H-1B petition for them. These "cap-gap" rules apply to employers who have submitted an H-1B change of status petition for the employee before his or her authorized "duration of status" (including any periods of work authorization or the 60-day grace period) expires. In that case, if the petition is selected and approved, the student's work authorization and status automatically is extended through September 30th, unless it is denied, withdrawn or revoked in the interim. If that occurs, the student will receive the standard 60-day grace period to depart the United States.
Although they are permitted to remain in the U.S. under the "cap-gap" rules, students are cautioned that they should not travel during the "cap-gap" extension, as they will not be eligible for readmission on their F-1 visas during this period.

Categories: Immigration Blog