A sudden increase in demand for H-1B visa petitions was reported last week. As of August 20, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that it has received approximately 33,900 H-1B petitions counting toward the annual 65,000 “cap” (see www.uscis.gov/h-1b_count). This means approximately 4,200 petitions were filed in the last week, nearly equaling the filing reported for the preceding four weeks. In addition, USCIS has received 12,600 petitions (1,600 over the past five weeks) for individuals with advanced degrees counting toward the 20,000 advanced U.S. degree or “Master’s Cap.” If the sudden spike is the start of a trend and not merely an anomaly, the H-1B visas available under the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY 2011) quota could be exhausted by the end of October at this pace. Persons currently employed as F-1 students or J-1 trainees and persons outside of the United States commonly require new, cap-subject H-1Bs. Each year on April 1, USCIS begins accepting new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota for the next government fiscal year, which begins on October 1.


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