On February 17, 2004, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") announced that the H-1B cap has been reached for Fiscal Year ("FY") 2004. As a result, no new H-1B petitions which would be subject to the cap will be accepted by CIS for this fiscal year. Affected H-1B petitions which have already been submitted will be returned with the filing fees. Employers may resubmit H-1B petitions at such time as H-1B visas become available for FY 2005, however, employment start dates for such petitions can be no earlier than October 1, 2004 (which is the beginning of the new fiscal year).
Those foreign nationals who currently hold H-1B status are not subject to the H-1B cap. Certain other new H-1B petitions are also exempt.
Please contact us immediately to discuss any issues this event might pose to your business planning.