H-1B Petitions, in short, are used to bring skilled workers who have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent into the U.S. to temporarily perform work in job positions which require a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A second category of H-1B Petitions requires a master’s or advanced degree. They are normally issued for a period of three years, and renewable for another three. There is, however, a cap about the number of H-1B Petitions with certain exceptions, that will be issued in any fiscal year. The Fiscal Year 2013 begins on October 1, 2012. The main cap on H-1B Petitions which will be available on October 1, 2012, is 65,000. The first date upon which H-1B Petitions could be filed in FY 2013 was April 2. Since that time, as of May 23, 2012, 42,000 Petitions have been received. Of the additional 20,000 master’s degree H-1B Petitions which are available, 16,000 Petitions have been filed.
When the cap is reached, no further Petitions will be processed and no additional H-1B Petitions will be available until FY 2014 (October 1, 2013). Thus, employers who are subject to the cap and who are considering employing employees under H-1B status should accelerate their considerations and begin the process of filing as quickly as possible.
We will continue to provide updates on the progress toward the cap both under “regular” H-1B level and the “master’s degree” H-1B level.
It should be noted that certain entities are exempt from the cap altogether. However, the greatest share of employers in the U.S. will be subject to the 65,000 and 20,000 caps.