As of November 2, 2011, the USCIS received 50,800 cap subject cases and 20,000 advanced degree cases
November 7, 2011
The government 's current annual H-1B quota is 65,000 for new H-1B visas (commonly known as "Fiscal Year, or FY H-1B's"). The USCIS has set aside an additional 20,000 FY H-1B visas for holders of U.S. advanced degrees. In a robust economy, employers often find there are not enough FY H-1B visas to meet their hiring needs. The government's fiscal year starts on October 1, 2011. Employers may file H-1B petitions up to 6 months in advance of the requested start date under the H-1B visa. As a result, when H-1B visas are in high demand, many employers file on April 1 in an effort to secure one of the limited H-1B visas. So far this year, many H-1B visas remain available. "Cap Gap" relief is available for recent graduates who work under F-1 optional practical training work authorization (OPT) cards which expire before October 1 of any given year: They may remain on payroll while their H-1B petitions are pending , provided that the H-1B petition is filed while the student is within the period of OPT, the employer requests an October 1 start date under the petition, and the student has not violated her status.
Employers who use E-Verify may obtain an additional 17 months of work authorization for STEM graduates, for a total of 29 months of post degree work authorization. USCIS provides periodic updates of FY H-1B counts.