On January 21, 2011, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that 62,800 H-1B petitions out of the regular quota of 65,000 have been received since April 1, 2010. USCIS also announced that the special quota of 20,000 for foreign nationals with U.S. master’s degrees has been exhausted. This 62,800 number already exceeds 58,200, the quota for regular H-1Bs after subtracting the 6,800 H-1B1 numbers which are reserved solely for citizens of Chile and Singapore pursuant to free trade agreements.
However, the USCIS announcement indicates that the agency “continues to accept these petitions and they will be counted against the regular cap until the regular cap is reached.” In addition, USCIS has the regulatory authority to utilize unused Chile/Singapore free trade visas from the previous fiscal year and may also allow regular H-1B filings based on low estimates of Chile/Singapore free trade filings in previous years. It is unknown exactly how much longer USCIS will continue to accept H-1B filings; however, we estimate the cap will be reached imminently—probably within the next few days.
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