In late October, the USCIS announced that it reached the 20,000 limit on H-1B Master’s Cap visas for FY2012. These visas are allotted for petitions involving beneficiaries/employees with at least a master’s degree (ie, J.D., M.D., Ph.D., etc.). Once the Master’s cap was reached, all petitions falling under this category would be counted against the 65,000 Regular H-1B Cap. As of October 28th, 49,2000 of the 65,000 regular H-1B’s have been accounted for – leaving fewer than 16,000 H-1B visas available for this fiscal year.
Based on my calculation, the USCIS is receiving approximately 3,000 H-1B petitions per week – or 12,000 per month. This means that the H-1B cap will likely be reached by mid-December. So if you are looking to submit an H-1B visa this fiscal year, it is imperative that you start the process immediately. Preparing the Labor Condition Application as well as all the supporting evidence can take up to three or four weeks, which will likely mean that your petition gets submitted right around the time the cap is reached.
If your petition does not make it into this year’s cap, you can apply for the next fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2012. However, this would mean that the beneficiary cannot start working for the employer on the H-1B until October 1, 2012.