As of October 14, 2011, USCIS has received approximately 43,300 H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2012 bachelor’s degree cap, of which there are 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Also, USCIS has received 19,600 H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2012 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. These numbers are still moving very slowly and it appears that the cap may not be reached until the end of this year or even later, since the numbers moved by only 1,000 for the bachelor’s cap in one week.
Once these numbers are exhausted, then new petitions subject to the cap can be filed as early as April 1, 2012, requesting a start date of October 1, 2012.