H-1B Visas for 2013 cap is running out too quickly

It looks like employers and specialty workers are feeling the hustle and bustle of the race soon after the USCIS started accepting petitions for H-1B visas on April 2, 2012.  Because only 65,000 of this type of visa are allocated each fiscal year, candidates for H-1Bs may worry about the numerical cap. If you do not qualify for H-1B category that is exempt from the regular annual limit, you may need to literally rush to be covered, otherwise you might do well to wait for the next fiscal year – something you do not wish to happen.

How can you be eligible for exemption? 

Some US immigration lawyers may tell you that you can do more as a visa beneficiary if you have a master’s degree than rushing with others to be counted against the 65,000 limit. There is a good news for applicants who have earned an advanced degree from an institution of higher education. If you are this person, you can join the first 20,000 beneficiaries who are exempt from the annual cap. After accepting the first 20,000 advanced degree exemption petitions, USCIS will count the remaining applications toward the 65,000 FY limit.

Notice that up to 6,800 visas of 65,000 are reserved for applicants covered in the implementation of US–Chile and US–Singapore Free Trade Agreements.

Eligible Employers under H-1B exemption program 

There is another way you must be hopeful for. You can inquire from your prospective US employer if it is eligible for the categories of H-1B exempt employers. Even after the numbers of H-1B applicants have reached the maximum allotment for the current fiscal year, your employer can petition you anytime if it is entitled to such exemption.

Here are the list of employers that are exempt from the annual cap:

  • Institution of higher education – any public or nonprofit institutions accredited and licensed in a State, where they are located, to award bachelor’s degree or higher, or to offer two-year programs that can be credited toward bachelor’s degree.
  • Nonprofit research organization or governmental research organizations – any organizations primarily conducting basic research or applied research, and any US government bodies that exist for the advancement of basic and applied research.
  • Nonprofit organizations affiliated to institutions of higher education – any nonprofit organizations that are affiliated or in the process of being affiliated with institutions of higher education. USCIS describes affiliations as to include shared or common ownership and control by the same board, or being linked to institutions of higher education as its subsidiary, branch or member.

Don’t miss it this fiscal year!

As of May 5, 2012, there are about 13,700 candidates for H-1B Master’s Degree Exemption program already, and about 32,500 petitions for H-1B regular cap that USCIS has accepted. In as little as one month, half of the allotted numerical ceiling is already given out. This is the reason why more and more employers and employees are seeking the help of US immigration lawyers to process their petitions for visas under this program.

If you feel like you are the right candidate for the program but are confused with the procedures involved, you may contact us using the form on the right side of this page. We are more than happy to assist you.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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