US H-1B visas may not last - Apply now!

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, as of 13 April 2012, it has already received 20,600 H-1B cap-subject petitions. Additionally, they have received 9,700 H-1B visa petitions for foreigners with US advanced degrees.

This is a significant increase from the last count of 25,600 only four days earlier. The rate of filings for April has increased markedly for FY 2013 when compared to FY 2012. However, the rate of filings is still quite low compared to say 2008 when the H-1B visa cap was reached in the first week of the application season. Before the economic crisis later in the same year the H-1B visa quota was always reached very quickly.

USCIS officially began accepting the applications for the popular H-1B visa program from 2 April 2012 for positions with a start date of 1 October 2012 or later. Each year 65,000 visas are available for regular H-1B visa cap petitions for graduate level foreign workers in professional or specialty occupation positions. Also, an additional 20,000 visas are made available for US Master or higher H-1B cap petitions for those with advanced degrees awarded at US universities.

Therefore, employers considering filing H-1B applications are encouraged to expedite cases so that they may be filed as soon as possible. Once the visa cap has been reached, USCIS will stop accepting H-1B petitions for FY 2013 and will not accept new applications until 1 April 2013.

The IT industry is still "the greatest mover" for the H-1B visa according to USCIS press secretary Christopher Bentley. He noted that US employers are "requiring workers from India and China in greater proportions".

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