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Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services

April 4, 2003

BCIS Announces Figures for H-1B Petition Receipts and Approvals

WASHINGTON, DC—The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) today announced the statistics for the number of H-1B petitions filed and approved during fiscal year 2002, which ended on September 30. The agency received a total of 215,190 H-1B petitions in FY 2002. That number includes petitions for both initial and continuing employment. INS approved 197,537 petitions in FY 2002. Of the approved applications, a total of 103,584 were for initial employment. This includes 79,100 individuals who were subject to the Congressionally-mandated cap, which in FY 2002 totaled 195,000.

The rules for counting individuals against the H-1B annual cap were revised with the enactment of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act. Most foreign nationals approved for extensions of H-1B employment are not subject to the annual cap. Individuals approved for H-1B status for certain types of employers, including institutions of primary, secondary, or higher education, and nonprofit research employment for certain types of employers, may also be exempted from the cap. In FY 2002, 79,100 individuals were subject to the cap, less than half of the total number approved for H-1B employment. Of the 103,584 petitions approved for initial employment in FY 2002, 18,600 did not count against the cap because the sponsor was an exempt employer. Although workers may have multiple petitions submitted on their behalf during the course of their H-1B employment, they are counted only once against the cap if working for non-exempt employers.

H-1B Petitions Filed and Approved by Type of Petition: FYs 2000-02

  Fiscal Year Total Initial Employment Continuing Employment
Petitions Filed 2000 299,046 164,814 134,232
  2001 342,035 201,543 140,492
  2002 215,190 109,576 105,614
Petitions Approved 2000 257,640 136,787 120,853
  2001 331,206 201,079 130,127
  2002 197,537 103,584 93,953