Monday, March 21, 2011

H1B FY 2012 - Accepting Petitions April 1, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011 | , , ,

For all individuals who will be filing their H1B Petitions in FY 2012, USCIS will start accepting application starting April 1, 2011. Please note that cases will be considered accepted on the date USCIS receives a properly filed petition for which the correct fee has been submitted; not the date that the petition is postmarked. It is important that your case should reach USCIS in timely manner with the correct fees. This is especially important if USCIS would receive enough cap - subjected applications to reach cap on first five working days from April 1, 2011. In this case USCIS would usually held a lottery where application considered for processing in FY 2012 will be randomly selected. Please note that this year TARP funded companies are allowed to file H1B petitions for their employees. They no more have 'H1B Restrictions' that were imposed on them in FY 2009, FY 2010 and FY 2011. Based on this, it is difficult to predict how soon H1B CAP will be reached this year. Last year H1B CAP was not reached until 26th January 2011. The cap (the numerical limit on H-1B petitions) for FY 2012 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt.

How H1B visa Lottery works?

How does the lottery work?

There is a limit to the number of first-time H1B cases that can be filed each year. These filings start on April 1, 2011 for the FY2012 quota or "cap." The USCIS allow a minimum window of five business days in April each year for the USCIS to receive H1B cap-subject cases. Thus, if the cap limit is reached during any of the first five days, a random lottery selection then will be conducted to determine which cases filed within the five-day timeframe will be eligible for a cap number. The cases then are reviewed and, if approved, generally are counted against the cap.

What happens if the H1B cap is not met within 5 business days?

If the cap is not met during the first five days, then filings will be accepted for additional days, until the cap is met. There will be a lottery, then, of the cases received on the day the cap is met, only. All earlier cases would not be subject to this lottery, and would be eligible for a cap number, if approved.

What happens to the U.S. masters' quota H1B cap filings during random lottery?

Based upon FY 2010 procedures, the lottery actually is conducted in two steps. There are two separate cap allocations. There are 20,000 "advanced degree" cap exemptions, for cases filed for foreign nationals who have completed U.S. masters' degrees or above. This is separate from the regular cap of 65,000 (minus a set aside for certain treaty cases). The USCIS will first determine if advanced-degree cap has been met in the first five days. If so, a lottery will be conducted for those cases. Any cases not selected would be eligible then for consideration and subject to the H1B random lottery under the regular cap. If the regular cap is reached in the first five days, then a lottery would be conducted consisting of all the regular cases filed in that timeframe, as well as any advanced-degree cases that are not selected in the advanced-degree lottery. (If only the regular cap is met in the first five days, then the lottery of those cases would not include advanced degree cases.)
When can we expect to find out if the quota is met?

The USCIS has made improvements to its counting and lottery system, so that announcements about the number of filings normally are issued fairly quickly. They provide information on the number of cases received within about a week, and also advised of the date set for the lottery.
Will there be a lottery this year?

There is no likelihood that lottery will be held during first five-days of opening of FY 2012 H1B season. We do expect CAP to reach early this year because company who received TARP funds are eligible to file H1B petitions for their employees with less 'H1B Restrictions'

What were the 'H1B Restrictions' for TARP funded companies?

Covered companies are not allowed to “hire” an H-1B worker unless the company has complied with additional LCA attestations which are generally imposed on H-1B dependent employers. These additional attestations are:

(1) that the employer has, prior to filing the H-1B petition, taken good-faith steps to recruit U.S. workers for the position for which the H-1B worker is sought, offering a wage that is at least as high as that required under law to be offered to the H-1B worker. The employer must also attest that, in connection with this recruitment, it has offered the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified for the position; and

(2) that the employer has not laid off, and will not lay off, any U.S. worker in a job that is essentially equivalent to the H-1B position in the area of intended employment of the H-1B worker within the period beginning 90 days prior to the filing of the H-1B petition and ending 90 days after its filing.

Other topics on H1B that first time filers should read.

USCIS to Start Accepting H-1B Petitions for FY 2012 on April 1, 2011

March 18, 2011

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today it will start accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2012 cap on April 1, 2011. Cases will be considered accepted on the date USCIS receives a properly filed petition for which the correct fee has been submitted; not the date that the petition is postmarked.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Such workers include scientists, engineers, and computer programmers, among others.

The cap (the numerical limit on H-1B petitions) for FY 2012 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt.

USCIS will monitor the number of H-1B petitions received and will notify the public of the date when the numerical limit of the H-1B cap has been met. This date is known as the final receipt date. If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, it may on the final receipt date randomly select the number of petitions that will be considered for final inclusion within the cap. USCIS will reject petitions that are subject to the cap and are not selected, as well as petitions received after it has the necessary number of petitions needed to meet the cap.

In addition to petitions filed on behalf of people with U.S. master’s degrees or higher, certain other petitions are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap.

Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at:

  • Institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities;
  • Nonprofit research organizations; or
  • Governmental research organizations.

Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who will work only in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands are exempt from the cap until Dec. 31, 2014. Employers may continue to file petitions for these cap-exempt H-1B categories for beneficiaries who will start work during FY 2011 or 2012.

Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap do not count towards the H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • 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.

H-1B petitioners should follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions, to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence. USCIS has posted on its website detailed information, including a processing worksheet, to assist in the completion and submission of a FY2012 H-1B petition.

For more information on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, visit or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Last updated:03/18/2011

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