US Immigration reaches H-1B cap

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received applications of H-1B petitions sufficient to reach the cap for the financial year 2011.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B programme to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. The current cap-subject petitions limit is  65,000.

Properly filed cases will be considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition; not the date that the petition was postmarked, says USCIS in a statement. “USCIS will reject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY2011 that arrive after 26 January 2011.”

The USCIS applies a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions that are subject to the cap. USCIS will use this process to select petitions needed to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all remaining cap-subject petitions not randomly selected and will return the accompanying fee.

On 22 December last year, USCIS had also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the ‘advanced degree’ exemption.

“USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.”  Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally-mandated FY2011 H-1B cap.

The USCIS will continue to accept petitions filed to:

  • extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US;
  • change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.


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