Update on the H-1B “Cap”

Update on the H-1B “Cap”

Dear Clients and Friends,

The Immigration Service has released an accounting of the supply and demand for H-1B visa numbers for the current Fiscal Year (2005) which ends on September 30, 2005, as well as for the next Fiscal Year (2006) beginning on October 1, 2005.

To recap, for each Fiscal Year there are 65,000 H-1B visas available for “regular” H-1B’s (non-U.S. advanced degree holders), of which 6,800 are set aside for citizens of Chile and Singapore pursuant to treaty obligations, leaving 58,200 for all other applicants. There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available for holders of U.S. advanced degrees (Masters or above).

At this time there are NO visas available for “regular” H-1B applicants for the current Fiscal Year. They were used up long ago. There are still about 10,000 visas available for the current Fiscal Year for holders of U.S. advanced degrees.

Applicants began filing for “regular” H-1B visas for the upcoming Fiscal Year, requesting October 1, 2005 start dates (i.e. FY 2006 numbers) in April.

At this time about 21,000 have already been approved and another 28,000 are already pending. At this rate is appears certain that regular H-1B numbers will be completely exhausted early in the next Fiscal Year, if not before. It will then be impossible for applicants for these visas to acquire H-1B status prior to October 1, 2006!

With respect to the 20,000 numbers for holders of U.S. advanced degrees available for FY 2006, about 7,800 have already been approved or are now pending. The likelihood is that these numbers also will be used up long before the Fiscal Year is over.

The impending unavailability of H-1B visa numbers for both “regular” applicants and holders of U.S. advanced degrees will pose a particular hardship for applicants who may be working on the basis of F-1 Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training which will expire prior to October 1, 2006-as well as on the employers who depend on these workers.

Therefore, we recommend that potential applicants and their employers consider moving forward with the filing of H-1B petitions without further delay. Premium Processing should also be seriously considered for any new petitions.