Filing Under the FY 2014 H-1B Cap Begins April 1, 2013

USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year  2014 “cap” on Monday April 1, 2013.  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.

There is an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 H1B visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.  H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated/related nonprofit entities, or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization, are not subject to this numerical cap either.

USCIS closely monitors the number of petitions received, and will notify the public of the date on which they’ve received the necessary number of petitions to meet the H-1B cap.

For 2013 the cap was reached June 11th. The previous year, it was reached in November, and for 2011 it was reached January 2011. Obviously, we are trending back to the days when it was imperative to get your application filed as close to April 1 as possible.

Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have already been counted against a previous year’s cap do not count towards it again.  Accordingly, even after the cap is reached, USCIS will continue to process FY 2013 petitions filed to:

  • extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • allow current H-1B workers to change employers; or
  • allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Interestingly, it was brought to light several months ago that the USCIS has seriously erred in counting H1B cap-subject petitions for the past several years.  According to the Immigration Law Weekly online, “Approximately 45,000 too few H-1Bs have been approved between fiscal year 2008 and 2012.”  Read his article here.

We will provide regular updates on the H-1B Cap Count at www.bashyamspiro.com.