Tuesday, December 01, 2009

H-1B Cap Almost Reached

USCIS is expected to announce soon that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to exhaust the 65,000 cap-subject H-1Bs allotted for the 2010 Fiscal Year. If that happens—and there is some speculation that the announcement may be only days away—the next filing period will begin April 1, 2010 for 2011 Fiscal Year H-1B visas.  FY2011 H-1B petitions will be for employment commencing no earlier than October 1, 2011.  This week attorneys and employers are rushing to file petitions before the government ceases accepting them. On November 27, the last time USCIS issued its count, only 6,000 cap-subject H-1Bs remained.  Approximately 2,000 petitions were received in the week beginning November 20, suggesting an acceleration of demand as the numbers dwindle.  Additionally, it is important to note that 6,800 of the 65,000 are set aside for Chile and Singapore nationals, many or most of the Chile/Singapore specific H-1Bs will go unused and will be then be returned to the pool that is available to all petitioners.  Therefore, the actual number of available H-1Bs subject to the cap (for non-Chile and non-Singapore nationals) is significantly less than 65,000. Simple math reveals then that there are significantly fewer than 6,000 left as we enter December.
(In 2003, the United States signed separate Free Trade Agreements with Chile and Singapore which included specific set-asides within the H-1B program for professionals from those countries.)

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