The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported today that approximately 45,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption had been filed since April 1, 2009, leaving 20,000 slots still available for fiscal year 2010. USCIS continues to accept advanced degree petitions stating that experience has shown that not all petitions received are approvable.
The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers who have a minimum of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and will be coming to the U.S. to perform professional caliber work at a prevailing wage established by the U.S. Department of Labor. Congress has established an annul numerical limit (or cap) of 65,000 for new H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 for foreign workers with an advance degree from a U.S. university. The government’s fiscal year begins October 1 and the law permits applicants to file petitions no more than 6 months in advance of the commencement date, thus resulting in an “earliest” filing date of April 1.
For each of the past two fiscal years, more than the maximum number of applications was filed during the first days of April, resulting in H-1B petitions “capping out” immediately. This year, due to the economic downturn, less than the maximum number of applications was received.
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