Monday, July 18, 2011

H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Cap Season -- 7/15/2011 UPDATE BY USCIS

The H-1B Program

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, business managers, engineers, financial planners, social workers, or computer programmers. This is a popular work authorization status (visa category) because any international worker with a MINIMUM of a 4 year college degree (or the equivalent), from any college anywhere in the world, may obtain permission to work for a U.S. Company on U.S. soil in the H-1B category. The "4 year college degree" requirement is what makes the occupation a "specialty" occupation. Also, the 4 year college degree must be required by, or strongly related to, the job being offered to the international worker. Put another way, if the worker is hired by your organization in the normal course of business, then, in all likelihood, that worker will be able to obtain the H-1B work authorization.
For more information about the H-1B program, follow this link to a terrific article from The Economist!
There is one small catch. The H-1B category is limited to 85,000 new workers for the entire United States of America per federal government fiscal year. This limit means that the amount -- 85,000 -- is the maximum number of slots available for every international worker seeking employment in the United States in any given year. The bulk of these "cap -covered" or "quota-covered" H-1Bs are obtained by international students who have been educated in U.S. Colleges and Universities. For example, Silicon Valley, and (as another example) science labs in all graduate programs across the United States, have H-1B workers as far as the eye can see!
USCIS Determines if an H-1B Petition is Subject to the FY 2012 Cap
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) counts the current "cap-covered" H-1B amount of 85,00 for the federal government fiscal year which begins on 10/01/2011 and ends on 09/30/2012 (FY 2012). The 85,000 total number of H-1Bs available are divided into two pools: one pool of 65,000; another of 20,000.
USCIS determines whether a petition is subject to the 65,000 H-1B numerical limitation (the “cap” as it is popularly known). Some petitions are exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption provided to the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher. THE H-!B "CAP COUNT" AS OF 07/15/2011:
H-1B UPDATE (7/15/2011)
20,500 of the 65,000 have been approved by, or are pending at, USCIS
12,800 of the 20,000 have been approved by, or are pending at, USCIS
33,300 of the 85,000 GRAND TOTAL have been approved by, or are pending at, USCIS.

For further details, follow this link to the official USCIS website.
Feel free to contact an attorney in the Vandeventer Black LLP Immigration Law Group at 757-446-8600 for more information.

This posting is based primarily on the H-B Cap information published by USCIS at

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