USCIS has advised that, as of December 31, 2010, the total number of new H-1B visas still available in the general H-1B pool for FY2011 is 7,250. This takes into account unused H-1B1 numbers reserved for natives of Singapore and Chile. Given that (i) the 20,000 visa numbers allocated for those with U.S. Masterís degree have been exhausted and (ii) the average general usage of new H-1B numbers per week during the last month, we anticipate that the H-1B cap for the current fiscal year may be reached by the end of January.
As such, employers who regularly make use of the H-1B program should capture (as soon as practicable) the remaining H-1B visa numbers before the quota is reached. Otherwise, such employers will be left to wait until October 1, 2011 before new H-1B visa numbers become available.
Please note that H-1B visa extensions of stay and H-1B visa transfers (from one eligible U.S. employer to another) are not subject to the annual H-1B cap and, therefore, will continue to be regularly accepted by USCIS. Likewise, H-1B nonimmigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) eligible research institutions, universities and other qualifying non-profit facilities may also be excluded from the numerical H-1B visa cap.
Post Authored By: Anthony F. Siliato, Esq. and Scott R. Malyk, Esq. of Meyner and Landis LLP