USCIS Updates Fiscal Year 2011 H-1B Cap as of April 22, 2010

April 28th, 2010

As of April 22, 2010, USCIS has received 16,025 H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2011 bachelor’s degree cap, of which there are 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Also, USCIS has received 6,739 H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2011 US master’s degree cap, of which there are 20,000 visas each fiscal year.  If the master’s cap is reached, USCIS has stated that any petitions filed on behalf of aliens with an advanced US degree will be counted toward the general 65,000 H-1B cap. 

Employers can continue to file H-1B petitions for a start date before October 1, 2011, so long as H-1B numbers are available.  However, the start cannot be more than six months in advance of the date of preparation on the Form ETA 9035 Labor Condition Application (LCA), which is filed with the Department of Labor.  The employer must file a certified LCA with USCIS in support of the H-1B petition.  Currently, the DOL is taking seven days to certify an LCA, unless it requests evidence verifying the employer’s information.  DOL has been denying many LCAs based on its inability to verify the employer’s FEIN.  This can delay the certification another two weeks. 

National Interest Waiver and Outstanding Researcher Petitions Approved

April 8th, 2010

This past month my office has obtained approvals for a National Interest Waiver (an EB-2 immigrant visa classification) and an Outstanding Researcher Petition (an EB-1 immigrant visa classification).  What is most amazing about these approvals is how quickly they came – within one month without premium processing!  Is the economy that poor that USCIS suddenly has time on its hands to approve cases in record speed?  There always is a silver lining.

Vermont Service Center Reports H-1B Petitions Received

April 8th, 2010

As of April 5, 2010, the Vermont Service Center of USCIS has received a total of 9,525 cap-subject H-1B petitions.  Of these petitions, 6,971 were subject to the bachelor’s cap and 2,734 were subject to the advanced degree cap.  There are a total of 65,000 visas each fiscal year for the bachelor’s cap and an additional 20,000 for the advanced degree cap. If the advanced degree cap is filled, these petitions can be counted toward the general 65,000 H-1B cap.  

Employers can continue to file H-1B petitions for a start date on or after October 1, 2010, so long as H-1B numbers are available.  However, the start cannot be more than six months in advance of the date of preparation on the Form ETA 9035 Labor Condition Application (LCA), which is filed with the Department of Labor.  Also, the employer must file a certified LCA with USCIS in support of the H-1B petition.  DOL has been denying many LCAs based on its inability to verify the employer’s FEIN.  This can delay the certification another two weeks.  USCIS had waived the LCA certification requirement but such policy has expired.  However, USCIS should allow the employer to file the H-1B petition as soon as the LCA is filed in light of the looming H-1B cap.