H-1B Cap Reached for U.S. Master’s Degrees; Remaining Numbers Are Diminishing

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the allotment of 20,000 H-1B petition approvals available to foreign nationals holding a U.S. master's or higher degree has been exhausted for fiscal year 2011. No more petitions may be filed under this allotment until April 1, 2012; however, employers may still file H-1B petitions for beneficiaries that hold a U.S. master's or higher degree under the annual general H-1B cap of 65,000. As of October 21, 2011, USCIS had received 42,600 H-1B petitions counting toward the general cap of 65,000 H-1B petition. Given the limited number of H-1B petitions that remain available, employers contemplating the hire of a foreign national in H-1B status should initiate the process without delay.

Certain categories of foreign nationals are not subject to the annual cap, including H-1B beneficiaries who (1) have held H-1B status in the last six years; (2) have not exhausted their entire six-year period of H-1B status; or (3) will be employed at an institution of higher education, a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, or a nonprofit or governmental research organization.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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