As in years past, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 cap on April 1, 2010. This is six months before October 1, 2010, the first day of the 2011 government fiscal year.
Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee; not the date that the petition is postmarked.
As in recent past years, the fiscal year cap (numerical limitation on H-1B petitions) for FY 2011 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the H-1B cap.
USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and will notify the public of the date on which USCIS received the necessary number of petitions to meet the H-1B cap. If needed, USCIS will randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.
Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the
cap also do not count towards the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to process 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.
H-1B petitioners should follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence. This is particularly important this year since one requirement for an H-1B is to include a Certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). In years past, the DOL would certify an LCA fairly quickly. However, now it can take 5-7 business days to receive the certification. Appropriate planning needs to be taken to assure everything is done correct and in a timely manner.
If you have any questions related to the H-1B program or would like assistance with applying for an H-1B visa or status, please contact our office at 313-963-2505 .