On April 1 each year, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting petitions from employers seeking to employ new H-1B non-immigrants during the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The number of available H-1Bs is capped at 65,000 per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 slots available to foreign nationals holding U.S. advanced degrees. This fixed number of new H-1Bs available per fiscal year is known as the “H-1B cap.”
FY 2013 H-1B cap filings are outpacing the rate at which such cases were filed in recent years. According to USCIS’ update, which is available here, USCIS had received approximately 35,900 cap filings as of April 20, 2012. By contrast, at roughly the same time in 2011, USCIS had received only 13,900 cases, suggesting that this year's H-1B cap may be exhausted much earlier than in recent years.
Because of the rapid advancement of the H-1B cap numbers, we recommend that employers file petitions seeking new H-1B employment as promptly as possible, ensuring that their petitions are included under the FY 2013 H-1B cap.© MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP