The U.S. government’s H-1B temporary professional worker program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals in “specialty occupation” positions that require a bachelor's degree or the equivalent. Under current law, the number of new H-1B petitions that will be granted each federal fiscal year (“FY”) is subject to a quota (“cap”). This year, if demand is high, the cap for H-1B numbers for FY2014, which begins October 1, 2013, could be reached in the spring of 2013. To avoid the cap and ensuing complications and processing delays, employers who would like to hire H-1B workers 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 workers from other countries.
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