H-1B Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2012

On November 22, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the cap for available H-1B visas for Fiscal Year 2012 had been reached.  Filing will open again on April 1, 2012 for applicants seeking employment any time between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013 (i.e. Fiscal Year 2013).
U.S. businesses may use the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.  The number of new visas issued each year is subject to a cap. H-1B visas are capped at 65,000 during a fiscal year; an additional 20,000 visas are available to those individuals who received a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education. 
The cap does not affect individuals who have already been granted H-1B status and are extending their stay or moving to a new employer. Additionally, certain employers, including universities and affiliated non-profit research centers and hospitals, are not subject to the cap.  For more information on the H-1B cap orapplying for work authorization for non-U.S. citizens, call one of our immigration attorneys at Whelchel, Dunlap, Jarrard & Walker, LLP.
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This bulletin provides a general summary of recent USCIS developments. It is not intended to be and should not be relied upon as legal advice.