USCIS has issued a news release on the current number of H-1B visas that it has received for the FY 2013. As of May 11, USCIS has received approximately 36,700.00 H-1B regular cap visa applications. This number does not include the Master’s cap H-1B visas applications. Of those Master’s cap H-1B visa petitions, USCIS has received 14,800 applications as of May 11, 2012.
USCIS received almost 20,000 H-1B applications in just one month. As of April 6, 2012, for example, USCIS had only received 17,400 H-1B cap visa applications at that time.
For the H-1B regular cap cases, there are approximately 28,300 H-1B visas still remaining, for a total of 65,000 regular cap H-1B visas allowed for FY 2013. For the H-1B Master’s cap, there remains about 5,200 H-1B visas available, for a total of 20,000 master’s cap H-1B visas allowed. As you can from above, the H-1B visas may well run out within a month or two, so be sure to apply sooner than later if you are eligible.
The most recent H-1B count shows that there are still large numbers of H-1B’s available to the general public. Of the 65,000 H-1B visas allowed, USCIS has now received 41,000 H-1B visas. Of the 20,000 advanced degree visas available per fiscal year, USCIS has received about 19,100 H-1B visas.
The H-1B visas for fiscal year 2012 are still available. To date, only 18,400 H-1B petitions have been received by USCIS, with the maximum allowed being 65,000 per year. For the master’s cap, USCIS has received 11,900 H-1B petitions, with the max allowed of 20,000 per year.
Employers are apparently more reluctant these days to file H-1B visas, due to the restrictions that USCIS has been placing on H-1Bs, including more difficulty in getting approved in the first place. Employers are simply scared of USCIS, and very well they have good reason to be, as all I’s must be dotted and all t’s must be crossed, as the saying goes.
In addition, USCIS has been recently denying some cases that would be approvable in the past. From my conversations with other immigration attorneys and from research online at www.aila.org, USCIS seems to be denying the market research analyst H-1B petitions, for example, where in the past a market research analyst was considered to be “H-1B caliber.” Now USCIS sends requests for evidence and then will deny many of these market research H-1B cases, citing that the employer does not need a market research analyst.
In addition, in some H-1B transfers, the USCIS is requesting the beneficiary’s pay stubs and W-2’s from previous years, to ensure that the beneficiary was maintaining status before his H-1B can be transferred. Therefore all H-1B visa holders must make sure that they are in strict compliance with the information provided to USCIS in connection with their H-1B visa, to avoid having their future H-1B transfer denied.
As most applicants for H-1B work visas probably know, they were able to file their H-1B petitions starting on April 1, 2011. As of May 13, 2011, USCIS has received on or about 11,200 regular cap H-1B cases and on or about 7,900 advanced cap (i.e. U.S. earned Master’s) H-1B cases. The USCIS allows 65,000 regular cap cases and 20,000 advanced cap cases for each year before they begin refusing to accept H-1B petitions.
As you can see, H-1B seekers that are still looking for sponsors have some time left for them to find a sponsor and submit the voluminous paperwork required to obtain an H-1B visa.
As most applicants that have H-1B work visas know, there is a 6 year limit on getting extensions. There is an exception to the six years limit that applicants can use to get 7th year extensions and additional extensions in one year increments. Basically, the applicant must have an Application for Alien Labor Certification or the PERM application filed on his or her behalf at least one year in advance of the 6th year deadline.
What this means is that if the 6 year ends on March 31, 2011, then the PERM must have been filed with a priority date of March 30, 2010 or before. If this is the case and the PERM has been certified or is pending, then USCIS will extend in one year increments.
However, is there any way to get an extension for beyond the 6 years where the extension is for more than one year at a time? Yes, there is and our law firm recently received a THREE (3) year H-1B extension for a client that has been on an H-1B for 7 years.
Under AC 21 section 104 (c ), there is a provision that states that if the form I-140 is approved, then “per country” limitations USCIS can approve the H-1B visa extension for 3 years at a time. This is a great bonus, since most extensions for H-1B’s are for one year at a time, and given this environment of strict enforcement by USCIS, many clients feel uncertain if they must receive extensions for only 1 year at a time.
Recently, our office is happy to announce that while USCIS may consider the “per country” limitation to apply only to certain countries like India, Mexico and Philippines, our office was able to obtain a 3 year H-1B visa extension for a client that has had the H-1B for over 7 years already. This client is not from the list of countries of Mexico, India, China or Philippines. He now has received a 3 year extension under AC 21 Section 104 (c ).
This is important news, because even when I prepared the case before filing, I checked with several other experienced immigration attorneys, and there is no clear explanation by USCIS of whether the 3 year provision under AC 21 section 104 (c ) applies to only certain countries where the backlogs are greatest or all the countries that are affected by the backlogs in general. In the above case, our law firm was able to get the extension for a country that is not listed on the specific list.
As of March 7, 2011, the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai, India has indicated that they will no longer offer the services of handling H-1B and L-1 visas. Applicants for H and L visas may now schedule appointments at Chennai, New Delhi, and Hyderabad.
For more information from their website, please go to: http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/applyingmain.html
Anyone with questions about this change can email the US Consulate General in Mumbai at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As I know from personal experience, many clients go to Mumbai to have their visa stamped and other services. Those that really need an appointment at Mumbai can send them an email to see what the options are and whether any exceptions can be made.
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.
As of November 5, 2010, the H-1B cases that have been received at the USCIS office are 46,800. There are a total of 65,000 visas available.
Also the USCIS has received 17,200 of the 20,000 allowed H-1B visas for US earned masters.