United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has updated its H-1B cap count for the current fiscal year. As of April 15, 2011, approximately 7,100 H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted. Additionally, USCIS has receipted 5,100 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced (master’s or higher) degrees from the United States.
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, engineers, or computer programmers. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. However, 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. Others are completely exempt from the numerical limits.
Please note that up to 6,800 H-1B numbers may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
For further information regarding the H-1B category, please review my H-1B article, which is available here.
Henry J Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP
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