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FY-2012 H-1B Cap Reached

Tuscany brick wall, Italy 154091784The FY-2012 H-1B Cap has been reached. As of November 22, 2011, USCIS had received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the annual cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2012 (FY2012). The final receipt date for new cap-subject FY-2012 H-1B petitions requesting an employment start date between October 01, 2011, and September 30, 2012, is November 22, 2011.

Properly filed FY-2012 H-1B petitions will be considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the H-1B petition, not the date that the H-1B petition was postmarked. USCIS will reject cap-subject FY-2012 H-1B petitions for new H-1B workers seeking an employment start date in FY-2012 (prior to October 01, 2012) that arrive at the relevant USCIS Regional Service Centers after November 22, 2011.

As of October 19, 2011, USCIS had received more than 20,000 FY-2012 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the FY-2012 H-1B cap under the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions that are otherwise exempt from the FY-2012 H-1B cap. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have already been counted against the cap will not be counted toward the FY-2012 H-1B cap.

Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions filed to:

  • extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US;
  • 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.

New cap-subject FY-2013 H-1B petitions with an employment start date of October 01, 2012, or later may be filed beginning April 01, 2012.

However, USCIS has planned a new H-1B pre-registration process set to begin in the coming year FY-2013 requiring employers to register prospective H-1B employees prior to filing a new cap-subject H-1B petition during a designated one week filing period some time in March of each year. USCIS will announce the particular designated period each year a few weeks prior.

This proposed H-1B pre-registration process is very controversial. There are concerns that it will favor the largest businesses who hire substantial numbers of H-1B workers, to the detriment of smaller companies. Stay tuned for further information on whether the new H-1B pre-registration process for FY-2013 H-1B visas moves forward in the spring of 2012.

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