As of June 11, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has no more slots left for foreign workers in specialty occupations under the H-1B visa program, as the statutory cap has been reached already for fiscal year 2013. By rule, those specialty occupations include, but are not limited to: scientists, engineers and computer programmers.
Furthermore, all 20,000 cap-exempt slots available to qualified individuals with Masters or other advanced degrees under the H-1B program have also been taken.
Thus, employers who seek to hire workers in specialty occupations with a start date on or after October 1, 2012 (the start of the 2013 fiscal year) can no longer file visa petitions on behalf of those workers.
However, the USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.;
- Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
Up to 6,800 visas may also be set aside for workers from Chile and Singapore, pursuant to the H-1B1 program arising out of the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.
H-1B petitions, in order to be properly filed, must be complete and accurate. Necessary documents include, but are not limited to the following:
- A Form I-129 petition with appropriate supplements;
- Labor condition applications on Form ETA 9035;
- Required evidence of a beneficiarys educational background; and
- Consulate-specific forms required by the Department of State, where appropriate.
If you are in need of legal assistance with a business immigration issue, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 for an appointment to speak with a credentialed lawyer. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information on how we can assist you.