USCIS announced on November 22, 2011 that it had received enough H-1B cap-subject petitions to reach the annual 65,000 “regular cap” limit and that it would reject petitions filed thereafter. USCIS exhausted the 20,000 H-1Bs reserved for foreign nationals with U.S.-earned advanced degrees on October 19, 2011. The H-1B1 category is still available for nationals of Chile and Singapore, and the numerical limit on the E-3 specialty occupation category for citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia has not yet been depleted.
USCIS will continue to process certain H-1B petitions already counted towards the cap, including requests to extend current H-1B validity and change an H-1B worker’s employer or terms of employment. Otherwise, USCIS will accept cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY 2013 on April 2, 2012 for employment with a start date of October 1, 2012 or later. Employers with cap-subject petitions that were not accepted this year should explore alternative options with legal counsel.