United States reaches H-1B cap
28 January 2011
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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on 27 January 2011 that it received enough H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2011 to reach the annual cap of 65,000 visas.
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Applications are considered to have been received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition -- the postmark date does not matter. Any petitions received after 26 January 2011 will not be considered for an H-1B visa.
"[We are] notifying the public that yesterday, Jan. 26, 2011, is the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY2011," USCIS said in a statement.
All applications received on 26 January will be subjected to a computer generated random selection process from which enough applications required to meet the cap will be chosen.
USCIS will continue to accept and process applications filed to:
- extend a current H-1B worker's visa so they may remain in the U.S.
- change the terms of employment for current H-1B visa workers
- allow current H-1B workers to switch employers
- allow current H-1B workers to work in a second H-1B job
US employers can hire foreign workers in technical or specialty occupations that require "theoretical or technical expertise". These include occupations in research, engineering, and software development.
It was only a few years ago that the H-1B cap was reached in one day. In the period 2010-11 it has taken almost a year to reach the H1B cap.
The US economy is yet to fully recover from the global financial crisis of 2008. Compared to a few years ago there is less demand for professional level staff in the US.