Employers Urged to File H-1B Petitions Without Delay

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[authors: Eleanor Pelta, A. James Vázquez-Azpiri, Eric S. Bord, Lance Director Nagel, and Lisa Stephanian Burton

Increased demand over previous years could see H-1B visas exhausted by June 2012 or earlier.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of April 27, U.S. employers have filed for 29,000 H-1B visas subject to the regular cap of 65,000 and 12,300 H-1B visas subject to the U.S. Master's degree cap of 20,000 for FY2013. USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions on April 1, 2012. Approved petitions would authorize the employment of H-1B workers starting on October 1, 2012, or thereafter.

H-1B visas for this fiscal year are being used at a significantly increased rate from previous years. By comparison, for FY2012, 8,000 regular cap H-1B visas and 5,900 U.S. Master's degree cap H-1B visas had been allotted by April 27, 2011. This increased rate of usage reflects the gradual improvement of the U.S. economy, as the demand for H-1B visas rises and falls in response to current economic conditions. 

Type    Cap Amount     Cap Petitions Filed     Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap      65,000     29,200     04/27/2012
H-1B Master's Degree Exemption    20,000     12,300     04/27/2012

Implications

We recommend that employers contemplating the hire of an H-1B worker file the petition with USCIS as soon as possible. Although it is not possible to predict the exact date that either H-1B cap will be reached, at the current rate of usage, H-1B visas in either category will likely be exhausted much earlier than last year, perhaps as early as this summer.