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Tough Time in the Economy, Tough Time for H-1B and L-1 Workers

infoEver since the financial breakdown 3 years ago, especially over the past 12 months, there has been a steady trend of increased scrutiny and tougher requirements by the USCIS in the adjudication of H-1B and L-1A/B nonimmigrant worker petitions in both initial petition and extension cases. Specifically, more and more Requests For Evidence (RFE) have become a very common routine for L-1A/B petitions and site visitation becomes more and more frequent for many H-1B (both pre-adjudication and post adjudication) cases.

Read more: Tough Time in the Economy, Tough Time for H-1B and L-1 Workers

H-1B Visa Cap for Fiscal Year 2012 Has Been Reached

For our immigration clients, this year’s Thanksgiving holiday was ushered in by the official announcement made on Nov. 23, 2011 by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that it has received more H-1B new petitions than the statutory cap of 65,000 quota authorized by Congress for the fiscal year (FY) 2012.

As a result, USCIS will not accept any new cap-subject H-1B applications as of the announcement and Nov. 22, 2011 would be the final receipt date for new H-1B petitions requesting employment start date in FY 2012.

H-1B is a visa category that is the most frequently used nonimmigrant visa classification by US employers to employ foreign professionals in the specialty occupation that requires typically theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as scientists, engineers, computer programmers, teachers or professors in the United States. This visa classification has an annual quota of 65,000 numeric cap authorized by the Congress. Congress also authorized a separate numeric cap of an additional 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the special “advanced degree” exemption and that additional 20,000 “advanced degree” exemption cap had already been reached on Oct. 19, 2011. As a result, there will be no more new H-1B petitions to be accepted by the USCIS for the rest of the FY 2012.

However, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap and most teachers and professors, for example, are exempt from the cap. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2012 H-1B cap. Accordingly, 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.

If you have any questions regarding this article or if you or someone you know wishes to know if your H-1B case might be still eligible to file as a “cap exempt” or if you have any other US immigration and deportation related questions, you can send an email directly to us here at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and our experienced immigration staff attorneys will respond to your inquiries personally and promptly, usually within 24 hours, if not sooner.

Yu, South & Associates, LLP, Where YOU Matter the Most.

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