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Annual Cap For H-1B Petitions Reached

Publisher: Day Pitney Alert
February 1, 2011
Day Pitney Author(s) Kevin J. Skelly

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") reports that as of January 26, 2011, it had reached the cap on new H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2011 and will reject any petitions it receives after that date.

Employers rely on H-1B status to temporarily employ foreign workers in the United States in "specialty occupations," which are positions that require a U.S. bachelor's degree or its equivalent. The number of H-1B petitions that may be approved in each fiscal year (which runs from October 1 to September 30) is capped at 65,000. Petitions for workers with advanced degrees from a U.S. institution are exempt from the regular 65,000 cap. Under the advanced degree exemption, USCIS can process a maximum of 20,000 additional petitions.

At this time, both the regular and the advanced degree caps have been met. Accordingly, no more new H-1B petitions will be processed for this fiscal year. In April 2011, employers can begin to file H-1B petitions for workers to start work in the new fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2011.

Some petitions are exempt from the annual H-1B cap. Alternatively, prospective hires may be eligible for other visa categories. Please contact us if you need assistance in obtaining work authorization for a foreign national.