Once again, the H-1B visa cap is rapidly approaching as a result of the decrease in the number of H-1B visas available for the 2005 fiscal year which runs from October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”) has now announced that as of August 4, 2004 it has received approximately 40,000 H-1B cases which would be counted against the H-1B cap. Because a certain number of H-1B visas are held available for nationals of Chile and Singapore, this reported number constitutes almost 70% of number of H-1B visas available and subject to the cap for this fiscal year. Based on the experience of fiscal year 2004, it is extremely likely that the H-1B visa cap will be reached within the next couple of months.
Once reached, foreign nationals subject to the H-1B cap will not be eligible for new H-1B employment until October 1, 2005.
The H-1B cap will affect all NEW applicants for H-1B status, either as initial entry or as a change of status. It will also affect those foreign nationals who are in H-1B status and seeking to work with new H employers, but who were exempt from the H cap based on the type of employment. Otherwise, foreign nationals seeking to extend valid H-1B status (which has already been counted toward the cap) with a current or new employer are not subject to the H cap.
All H-1B cases subject to the cap should now be filed using premium processing.
Please contact us as soon as possible to review visa plans for any potential new hires you may have through October 2005.