USCIS has released an updated count of the number of cases received that would be counted against the Fiscal Year 2007 (October 1, 2006 – September 30, 2007) cap on new H-1Bs.
As of last Friday, USCIS has received petitions that would use approximately 42,900 of the general cap on new H-1Bs for the next fiscal year. While the general cap is 58,200, USCIS will accept and approve approximately 61,000 H-1B petitions to account for leftover numbers from this year’s Chile/Singapore H-1B1 cap, as well as petitions that are denied, returned by consulates, or never used by the beneficiary. In addition, USCIS has received 5,358 petitions that will count against the exemption cap of 20,000 for employees with a Master’s or higher degree from a U.S. college or university.
At the current rate of usage, the number of new H-1B nonimmigrants without a master’s degree from a U.S. Institution for the coming 2007 fiscal year (“FY07”) is expected to be reached prior to, or at most shortly after, June 1, 2006. Once the cap is reached, employers (other than cap-exempt institutions) cannot file H-1B petitions for employees who have not previously held H-1B status with a start date in FY07 – in other words, with a start date earlier than October 1, 2007 (the first date of the 2008 cap). Employers also cannot file petitions for employees to switch their H-1B status from a cap-exempt institution to a cap-subject institution with a requested start date during FY07 once the cap has been reached.
In light of these numbers, we continue to recommend that employers who wish to sponsor workers for H-1B status do so immediately, as we expect H-1B numbers to be unavailable for cap-subject employers before next week. We expect that H-1Bs for foreign nationals who received a Master’s or higher degree from a U.S. university will continue to be available through at least the first quarter or half of the fiscal year.
For questions about particular cases, please contact the firm.