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H-1B Cap Reached for FY 2012

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory numerical limit (cap) of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2012. November 22, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012. Properly filed cases are considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition, not the date that the petition was postmarked.

As of October 19, 2011, USCIS had also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2012 H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.;
  • change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Petitions for "new employment" of an H-1B, that is, for employment of a person who is not yet in H-1B status for another employer, will not be accepted again until April 1, 2012. Those petitions received after April 1, 2012, must request employment starting October 1, 2012, so that they will be subject to next year's cap (FY 2013).

Global employers now affected by the U.S. cap may want to consider hiring potential H-1B employees to work in other countries. Contact your Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers attorney for guidance in specific cases.
The USCIS announcement is available here.

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