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US CIS Reports FY 2007 Cap Reached

May 25, 2006

As we previously predicted, the run on H-1B visas has come to a close in late spring. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the FY 2007 H-1B cap has been reached as of May 26, 2006, and that it will not accept petitions filed after that date.

Cases received on May 26, 2006 will be subject to a random selection process for continued processing. As in FY 2006, the government has allotted only 65,000 H-1Bs, plus an additional 20,000 H-1Bs for foreign nationals who received a master's or higher degree from a U.S. university. Not all H-1B cases are subject to this FY cap.

If Congress does not pass legislation for an overall increase in H-1B visas, employers will need to wait until October 1, 2007 before they may employ H-1B workers subject to the 65,000 cap.
On a positive note:
· There are about 14,000 visas left for holders of U.S. MS or Ph.D. degrees.
· Chilean and Singaporean nationals enjoy a carve out of 6800 H-1B visas.
· Visa Numbers have advanced somewhat for Chinese and Indian nationals in the EB-1 and EB-2 preference categories.
· I-140s and I-129s are currently being processed in one to two months.

Not subject to the cap:
· Change of employer H petitions for lateral H-1B hires.
· H-1B extensions.
· Nonprofit research institutions and institutions of higher education and related entities.

We hope this information is helpful, and will continue to update you on developments. Please contact us if we may be assistance.

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