Finally USCIS has announced that the visas available for 2011 have all been used and applicants wanting to file H-1B’s must now wait until April 1st to file their H-1B visa. USCIS allows 65,000 H-1B visas per year and an additional 20,000 visas for applicants with an U.S. obtained Master’s degree. USCIS announced on January 26, 2011 that they have received a sufficient number of cases to reach the statutory cap for year 2011.
Although new applicants for H-1B visas can file the H-1B petition on April 1st, 2011, the actual H-1B validity period cannot and will not start until October 1, 2011. What this means is that an applicant in the U.S. applying for an H-1B visa for the first time must request a start date of October 1, 2011, and for immigration purposes this means he or she must have another visa valid until that day or else USCIS will not approve the change of status request. Applicants on a student Visa, however, are exempt from this requirement under certain circumstances as per the “cap-gap” regulations. You must consult an experienced immigration lawyer to make sure that not only is your H-1B visa properly filed, but also that the dates of validity are correct and per USCIS regulations.
Amazingly, there are still H-1B visa numbers available for the fiscal year of 2010. Currently, USCIS has received 58, 700 H-1B’s as of January 7th, 2011. There are a total of 65,000 regular cap H-1B visas available per fiscal year. So for the year of 2010, there are still about 6, 300 H-1B visa numbers available before the H-1B’s run out.
There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available per year for applicants who have received a master’s degree from a U.S. institution, but for the fiscal year of 2010, the USCIS has already received 20,000 of these cases.
It is important to note that once the remaining H-1B visa numbers are used up, a new batch of 65,000 H-1B visas will become available as of October 1, 2011 to start the fiscal year of 2011. If the H-1B visa numbers are all used up for 2010 by April 1, 2011, then the first day of filing H-1B’s for the fiscal year of 2011 will be April 1, 2011.
As noted in my previous blogs, ALL H-1B visas would usually be taken within the first few days of filing. This certainly did not take place for 2010, as shown above. This is probably due to the slow economy.
H-1B visas are a three year work visa available for graduates with baccalaureate degrees in a specific professional area of expertise AND there is a job offer from a U.S. company that is related to the applicant’s previous education. Some classic cases of H-1B eligible employment positions are accountants, market research analysts, systems analysts and other IT positions that require a minimum of a bachelor’s in computer science for entry into the position, engineers, lawyers, foreign pharmacists if they meet some qualifications, quality control executives, sales managers, etc. There are many more H-1B caliber positions, and so the above list is not a complete list of possible H-1B cases.