The Fiscal Year 2013 (FY2013) H-1B cap season will begin on Monday April 2, 2012. For the last several years the H-1B cap season has averaged nine months before all 65,000 H-1B regular cap slots were used. Because of improvements in the US economy, MU Law expects that the 65,000 H-1B regular cap slots will be used by Summer 2012, perhaps as soon as May 2012.
MU lawyers have informally polled our clients and other AILA attorneys in an attempt to gauge the duration of this year’s H-1B season. Based on these conversations, MU Law's best estimate is that the H-1B visa quota will be exhausted in June/July of 2012, although some prognosticators think it could be reached in May 2012. We will make regular updates to our client base as the USCIS releases information about cap usage.
Additionally, MU Law expects that the 20,000 H-1B US Masters Cap will be used quicker than the H-1B regular cap. This is not a great concern because any US Masters Graduates who do not obtain a slot in the H-1B US Masters cap can apply for an H-1B regular cap slot.
Any cap-subject H-1B petition that is filed after April 1 allows the Beneficiary to begin working in H-1B status on October 1, 2012. Students who hold F-1 OPT student status can remain with valid work authorization through October 1, 2012, provided that their H-1B Petition is field and accepted by USCIS.
Because of the uncertainty in these estimates, MU Law urges all clients immediately to initiate H-1B cap-subject petitions. H-1B cap-subject petitions include:
· New overseas H-1B hires
· Beneficiaries on another nonimmigrant status, such as H-4, L-1, or F-1.
· H-1B workers who hold H-1B cap-exempt status by virtue of the filing of the H-1B with a University or research facility.
Chris Musillo is a partner at Musillo Unkenholt Immigration Law. He is a graduate of Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania. When not zealously representing his clients, Chris enjoys outdoor sports, listening to music, traveling and reading.