H1B Visa Cap Update 1-24-2011 – Hurry up, time is running up!

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of January 21, 2011, it has received 62,800 H-1B petitions counting toward the congressionally-mandated 65,000 limit. Congress has established an annual fiscal year limitation of 65,000 on the number of available H-1B visas, commonly referred to as the “H-1B cap.” Under the terms of the legislation implementing the United States-Chile and United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreements, 6,800 of the 65,000 available H-1B visas are set aside for the Chile/Singapore H-1B1 program. However, USCIS adds back to the H-1B cap the projected number of unused Chile/Singapore H-1B1 visas, which for this fiscal year is 6,350. This means that, of the approximately 64,550 H-1B visas available this year, approximately 1,750 remained as of January 21, 2011.

USCIS previously confirmed that it has received 20,000 H-1B petitions for employees with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities, thus reaching the annual limit on H-1B petitions in the advanced degree category. Accordingly, additional H-1B petitions received in this category will be adjudicated under the general 65,000 cap.

USCIS has historically accepted a greater number of H-1B petitions than the number available for approval under the cap based on the assumption that some petitions will be denied, rejected or withdrawn.

USCIS will once again use actual data on approvals and denials for this fiscal year to determine how many petitions should be accepted for filing and when to end the filing period for cap-subject petitions. If this rate continues, visas will run out in a week or so. So hurry up and get your filings in now.