FY2012 H-1B Visa Filing Season Is In Full Swing

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting H-1B petitions for the 2012 fiscal year on April 1, 2011. The earliest that a cap-subject H-1B employee may begin working under an approved FY2012 H-1B petition is October 1, 2011.

The numerical limit on H-1B petitions, or cap, is 65,000 (excluding the 6,800 visas set aside under the United States' Free Trade Agreements with Chile and Singapore or the unused numbers in this allocation from the previous year). An additional 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master's degrees or higher are exempt from this limit. Additionally, exemptions from the cap may be claimed by various petitioners, such as institutions of higher education or affiliated non-profit entities; non-profit research organizations; and governmental research organizations.

USCIS counts the number of H-1B petitions received and notifies the public when the numerical limit of the H-1B cap has been met. Once the cap is reached, all additional petitions, including petitions received on later dates, will be rejected. As of May 20, 2011, 12,300 petitions had been received by USCIS for the regular cap of 65,000 new H-1B visas and 8,500 petitions had been received for the H-1B Master's Cap.

Certain types of H-1B petitions are not subject to the cap. For example, petitions to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States; to change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; to allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and to allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second position will continue to be processed after the cap is met.

If you have an interest in pursuing an H-1B petition for the 2012 fiscal year, please contact our office as soon as possible in order to allow us to process your petition before the H-1B cap is reached.

Access to the current H-1B cap count is available here. A copy of the USCIS announcement regarding the FY2012 H-1B cap season may be accessed here.

Categories: Immigration Blog