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.