As of April 4, 2012, USCIS had received 22,323 FY2013 cap-subject H-1B petitions for employment start dates beginning October 1, 2012 (fiscal year 2013, or FY2013, begins October 1, 2012, and ends September 30, 2013). Approximately 25% of these FY2013 H-1B petitions are for H-1B beneficiaries with US advanced degrees. According to USCIS figures, the number of H-1B petitions received in the first few days of the FY2013 H-1B season is double the number of petitions received during the first week of April 2011, FY2012 (the current fiscal year 2012, which runs October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012).
Each fiscal year, H-1B visas are subject to an annual quota of 65,000 for regular cap-subject petitions (for beneficiaries without an advanced degree from a US academic institution), and an annual quota of 20,000 for beneficiaries with a US advanced degree. So USCIS has received approximately 5,580 advanced degree FY2013 H-1B petitions, and 16,743 FY2013 H-1B petitions subject to the regular 65,000 annual H-1B cap.
Last year, as of April 7, 2011, USCIS reported receipt of approximately 5,900 regular H-1B petitions and 4,500 advanced degree H-1B petitions. The FY2012 H-1B cap was filled November 23, 2011, about 6 months after FY2012 filing opened on April 1, 2011, and just under two months following the beginning of fiscal year FY2012 (the current fiscal year).
Given these H-1B statistics and the apparent US economic recovery, we expect that the annual H-1B cap will be filled in the early summer of 2012. So employers who wish to obtain an H-1B with a start date of October 1, 2012 (the earliest possible cap-subject H-1B start date), should file as soon as possible to ensure receipt of an H-1B number for FY2013.
Once the annual FY2013 H-1B cap is met, absent further legislative action, H-1B numbers will not become available again until October 1, 2013 (which is the start of FY2014, with earliest date to file an H-1B petition for FY2014 being April 1, 2013).