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H-1B Cap Has Been Met for FY2014

April 6, 2013

USCIS announced yesterday that the H-1B cap has been reached during the first week of filing. This means that businesses who seek highly-skilled foreign nationals will have each petition subject to a lottery process, to determine which petitions can be approved. In many cases, unless there is another basis for work authorization, foreign nationals with approved H-1B petitions are not authorized to begin work until October 01, 2013, the first day of the federal government’s 2014 fiscal year.

H-1B petitions are filed by employers who require workers to perform services in a “specialty occupation,” or one for which a bachelor’s degree is generally the minimum requirement. The cap is set at 85,000, which includes 20,000 petitions for positions which require a master’s degree.

The Brookings Institution posted an article on Monday, April 1st which outlined the proposed changes to the H-1B program under the Immigration and Innovation Act of 2013 (“I-Squared Act”) which would revise the system to a floating cap with a ceiling of 300,000 and a floor of 115,000.

As the article summarizes

The current immigration reform debate is a great opportunity to overhaul the system and move away from an arbitrary race against time for H-1B visas. A new method that structures America’s future immigration system to better meet the demand for high-skilled workers—through less-arbitrary H-1B visa caps, new visa classes, and better-targeted workforce training—will be welcomed by employers and workers alike.

If the H-1B visa system is revamped, this may be the last time we see the race to the H-1B visa cap.


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