USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2012. Already, as of October 19, 2011, USCIS had received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the ‘advanced degree’ exemption.
USCIS has also notified that November 22, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012. The final receipt date is the date on which USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 65,000. Properly filed cases will be considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition; not the date that the petition was postmarked. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2012 that arrive after November 22, 2011.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap; DOD petitions; and Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012. 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.
Employers (except cap-exempt organizations) desirous of filing new H-1B petitions will now have to wait until April 1, 2012 to be able to file again for a start date no sooner than October 1, 2012.
The H-1B cap numbers for FY 2012 saw a sudden acceleration during the last 3 to 4 weeks. Just about a month ago, as of October 21, 2011, USCIS had reported receiving only about 46,200 cap-subject petitions. In just over a month, USCIS has received approximately 20,000 cap-subject petitions. Also, when compared to last fiscal year, the H-1B cap has reached nearly 2 months sooner in FY 2012. In the last fiscal year, USCIS announced that the H-1B cap had reached on January 27, 2011, and the 20,000 under the ‘advanced degree’ cap reached on December 22, 2010 against November 23, 2011 and October 19, 2011, respectively this fiscal year. Is the sudden increase in H-1B filings a sign that the US economy is on its way to revival?
To learn more on how you must evaluate and utilize alternatives to the H-1B category visit What Would You Do If the H-1B Cap is Reached?