U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B visa petitions to reach the congressionally mandated cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011). The H-1B visa is used by U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in areas of specialized knowledge or technical expertise, such as scientists, engineers, or computer professionals. U.S. employers that apply for the visa must prove that there are no qualified U.S. workers that could fill the position, and must ensure that the H-1B holders are paid the same as their U.S. counterparts.
Petitions that were received by January 26 will be considered for the visa using a random selection process. USCIS will reject H-1B petitions for workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2011 that are received after Jan. 26, 2011. USCIS will refund the filing fee if a petition is rejected.
USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the “advanced degree” exemption. This exemption is available annually to 20,000 foreign workers with a master's or higher level degree from a U.S. academic institution.
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the H-1B cap for FY 2011 [USCIS News Release, 1/27/11].