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USCIS reaches H1B Advanced Degree Cap
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has reached the exemption limit of 20,000 established by Congress for fiscal year(FY) 2007. The “final receipt date” for these exempt H-1B petitions was decided by USCIS as July 26, 2006. Petitions received on July 26, 2006 are subject to a random selection process. USCIS will reject petitions requesting a foreign worker with a master’s or higher degree earned from a U.S. institution of higher education that are received after the “final receipt date” unless the petition is otherwise eligible for a separate cap exemption.

USCIS has implemented the following procedure for H-1B filings for FY 2007 in accordance with the procedures announced in 70 FR 23775 (Allocation of Additional H-1B Visas Created by the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004):
  • If USCIS determines that the numerical limits have been exceeded, USCIS will identify those H-1B petitions seeking an FY 2007 number that were received on that date.

  • USCIS will then conduct a computer-generated random selection of the petitions received on that date to allocate any remaining FY 2007 H-1B numbers.

  • After random selection, any remaining H-1B petitions that do not receive an FY 2007 number and are not otherwise exempt will be rejected and returned.

  • Returned petitions will be accompanied by the filing fee.

  • Petitioners may re-submit their petitions when H-1B visas become available for FY 2008.

  • The earliest date a petitioner may file a petition requesting FY 2008 H-1B employment with an employment start date of October 1, 2007, would be April 1, 2007.
Petitions for current H-1B workers do not count towards the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:
  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States.

  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers.

  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers.

  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
VisaPro readers are aware that USCIS reached the ‘general’ H-1B Cap on May 26, 2006 and conducted a similar ‘lottery’ for petitions received on that day. Now that H-1B’s for FY 2007 are over, US employers need to look for alternative visa categories to employ foreign nationals in the US. If you are an employer who missed the H-1B bus this time, click here to consult a VisaPro Attorney to look for alternatives.

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