Last Push for FY H-1B Numbers
November 15, 2011
The USCIS reported today that as of November 14, it has received 56,300 cap subject cases. As we previously advised, the government has already received 20,000 master's degree cases. With the jump of 6000 FY H-1B filings since November 2, the race is on. FY H-1B numbers may easily run out in the next two to three weeks – much earlier than anticipated. When FY H-1B numbers are exhausted, employers will need to wait to file until April 1 for H-1B start dates of October 1, 2012, the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year.
The government's 65,000 FY H-1B annual quota includes a set aside of 6800 H-1B visas for Chilean and Singaporean nationals, which makes the actual quota 58,200. The government has not published how many unused H-1B visa numbers of that set aside for Chileans and Singaporeans are available from FY 2011, which the government will then add to this 2012's FY quota. [By way of reference, for FY 2010, the government determined it was able to add 6000 unused FY H-1B visas to FY 2011's H-1B cap.]
"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. We may anticipate that the USCIS will provide more frequent updates of FY H-1B counts during this final stretch.