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H-1B Quota Alert

January 6, 2011

The USCIS announced that the H-1B Advanced Degree Holders quota of 20,000 has reached the cap as of December 31, 2010.  In the H-1B regular quota, 57, 300 have been received as of December 31.  Even though the regular quota is 65,000 visas each year, 6,800 visas are set aside for nationals of Singapore and Chile.  This means the regular quota is in fact 58,200 each year.  Any unused Singapore and Chile visas from the previous fiscal year get added to the current fiscal year (October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011).  USCIS has not released information as to how many, if any such unused visas have been added or will be added to the current fiscal year’s regular quota.

To take a conservative view of the above, it is prudent to assume that the quota will in fact be 58,200 or a number close to that.  Employers planning to file H-1B petitions in the current fiscal year should expedite their filings in order to make it in this year’s quota.  If the regular quota also reaches the cap, note that employers will have to wait until April 1, 2011 to file new H-1B petitions but the foreign nationals will not actually be able to work earlier than October 1, 2011.  Thus, it is highly imperative to file the H-1B petitions as soon as possible if the employers have an immediate need (i.e. between now and September 30) for foreign professional employees.

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