June 5, 2006
H1b Cap Reached
USCIS announced late last week that it reached the H-1B cap for
foreign nationals seeking H-1B status who hold a bachelor’s degree
or the equivalent for the new fiscal year 2007 (FY2007) as of May
26, 2006. In fact the agency indicated that all petitions received
on May 26, 2006, the “final receipt date”, will be subject to a
computer-generated random selection process and many will be returned
unadjudicated. Any petitions received after the “final receipt date”,
will be rejected and returned along with the filing fee(s). The
lag time in the announcement is due to the time it takes the Service
Center to in-put data and count the cases.
Unfortunately without Congressional intervention the earliest
date to file an H-1B petition for bachelor’s degree holders will
be April 1, 2007 with an employment start date of October 1, 2007.
USCIS will continue to process H-1B petitions for foreign nationals
that are exempt from the general cap allocation. Foreign nationals
exempt from the general cap include:
- Foreign Nationals who already hold H-1B status and are extending
their existing status.
- Foreign Nationals who already hold H-1B status and are changing
the terms of employment or employers.
- Foreign Nationals who will be hired for positions at an
institution of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit
entity, or at a nonprofit research organization or a governmental
research organization. For FY07, USCIS has received approximately
5,830 exempt petitions.
In addition, processing of H-1B petitions for numbers set aside
and limited exemptions also continues. These include:
- Chilean and Singaporean nationals under the additional quota
designation under the Free Trade Agreements with those countries.
- FY07 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals
who have earned a U.S. master’s or higher degree. In this category,
USCIS has now indicated that there are just under 14,170 cap
numbers for FY07 (employment start date before October 1, 2006)
and 20,000 cap numbers for FY07 (employment start date after
October 1, 2006).
Greenberg Traurig will continue to monitor the availability of
H1B numbers and provide related updates.