H-1B Numbers May Run Out Before End of 2011: Quota for Master’s Degree Filled

Under immigration law, the H-1B program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals in “specialty occupation” positions, which require a bachelor's degree or the equivalent. Under current law, there is a cap on the number of new H-1B petitions that will be granted each federal fiscal year (“FY”). The quota for graduates with a master’s or higher degrees from U.S. universities already has been filled. Current trends suggest that the cap for all remaining H-1B numbers for FY2012 could be reached before the end of 2011. To avoid the cap and ensuing complications and processing delays, employers who would like to hire H-1B workers to begin employment before October 1, 2012, should plan to file soon.

What Are the H-1B Cap Numbers?

During the dot.com boom, the H-1B cap was temporarily set at 195,000, but as of October 1, 2003, the cap returned to 65,000. Of those, 6,800 H-1Bs are allocated to citizens of Singapore and Chile under trade agreements with those countries, reducing the number generally available to 58,200 for all other countries.

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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.

© Lane Powell PC - Immigration Law Blog | Attorney Advertising

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