Immigration Alert: H-1B Cap Update

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On December 10, 2010, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that 52,400 H-1B petitions out of the regular quota of 65,000 have been received since April 1, 2010. Last year, this number of H-1B petitions had been received by the end of October, with the cap being reached on December 21, 2009. Although this year’s supply will last longer than did last year’s, it is impossible to predict exactly when the cap will be reached and USCIS will stop accepting new H-1B filings.

In addition, USCIS may set aside up to 6,800 visas from the 65,000 cap for H-1B1 visas for nationals of Chile and Singapore pursuant to free trade agreements. Unused Chile/Singapore free trade visas are made available for H-1B use in the following fiscal year, but it is not known how many of these visas remained last year and were added back into this year’s cap, effectively offsetting some portion of the 6,800 “carveout.”

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