Despite a slow economy, the demand for new H-1B visas for specialty workers (such as scientists, engineers and computer programmers) is higher than ever. As usual, it is higher than the number of visas Congress has allotted per year in this category (65,000).
According to an announcement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the 65,000 cap was reached on June 11, 2012. That’s even earlier than the date upon which H-1B visas ran out last year.
Any new H-1B specialty occupation petitions physically received by USCIS after that date, and requesting an employment start date in FY 2013, will be rejected. What is FY 2013? It starts on October 1 2012, and runs through September 30 2013.
This announcement does not mean, however, that everyone who seeks an H-1B visa is out of luck.
Some people may be exempt from the cap under an “advanced degree” or other exemption. Others may be renewing their current H-1B status or changing employers. USCIS will continue to accept and process such petitions.
For more information, see “Who Is Exempt From the H-1B Cap on Visas.”