by Chris Musillo

With the H-1B cap nearly reached, MU clients strongly are urged immediately to initiate and file any regular cap-subject H-1B cases.  The H-1B cap likely will be reached in January 2011. 

The latest USCIS update says that 53,900 of the 65,000 regular H-1B numbers were used as of December 17, 2010.  While demand typically levels off during the Christmas and New Years holidays, it is expected that the demand will rise again in the first weeks of January.  The demand for H-1B numbers historically has spiked as the H-1B number grows closer to 65,000.

Employees that may need an H-1B visa include:

  • International students working on an EAD card under an OPT or CPT program after having attended a U.S. school;

  • International employees working on a TN may need an H-1B filed for them in order for them to pursue a permanent residency (green card) case;

  • Prospective international employees in another visa status e.g. H-4, L-2, J-1, F-1;- H-1B workers with a cap exempt organization; and

  • Prospective international employees currently living abroad.

International workers who are working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as "transfer" cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year.

Additionally, the USCIS sets aside an additional 20,000 H-1B numbers for graduates of US Masters degree (or higher) programs.  As of December 17, 2010, 19,700 of the 20,000 have been received by USCIS.  While no official USCIS announcement has been issued, that cap effectively may have already been reached.

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