H-1B Cap May Be Reached Very Soon Next Year, Get Ready Now So You Don't Miss Out
If you are a new H-1B petitioner, it is imperative for you to start planning now in order to get your petition filed before next year's cap is reached.
Our firm tracks the progress of H-1B consumption each year. Since 2009, the H-1B visa consumption has drastically slowed when compared to prior years, indicating a sluggish economy and an abundance of US workers to fill highly skilled jobs. This year, however, there is a definite acceleration of the H-1B usage indicating a much hoped for economic recovery. Look at the trend in recent years. The cap was reached in 297 days in 2010, in 225 days in 2011, and in only 72 days last year in 2012.
The H-1B visa cap was reached this year on June 12, 2012. It is anticipated that the visa cap will be reached even more quickly next year due to a large turnout resulting from the improving economy and decreasing unemployment. Our statistical analysis shows next year's cap is likely to be reached in April 2013, leaving only a small window of time to file a petition.
Beginning April 1, 2013, the USCIS will start accepting H1B visa petitions for new employees with an employment start date of October 1, 2013. When the cap is reached, new H1 visas will no longer be available until 2014. The number of H-1B visas granted each year by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is limited to 65,000 visas each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 visas are available for those with a master degree or higher from a US college or university.
|H-1B Visa Cap Data History|
Date Cap Reached
Days Until Cap Reached
January 26, 2011
Elimination of Form I-94 and Admission Stamps: Unintended Consequences
Forms I-20 and DS-2019 no longer receive admission stamps from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This may have unintended consequences when dealing with state agencies that look for such stamps, such as motor vehicle agencies for example.
CBP announced last August its plan to eliminate Form I-94 and replace it with an electronic record-keeping system. Those who enter the US with a visa will be issued a passport stamp instead. It is anticipated that this may also result in problematic unintended consequences.
Fortunately, USCIS and CBP have held conference calls with several motor vehicle agencies in efforts to avoid such problems.
EB-3 to EB-2 Conversion Update:
What is "Interfiling?"
We are seeing a large influx of permanent residence applications from people who want to convert their EB-3 case to an EB-2. We are hosting a webinar on this topic, as we consider right now the ideal time to process such conversions. If you currently have an approved I-140 with a priority date which would cause an EB-2 petition to become current, you should pursue a new permanent residence application based in PERM.
If you currently have an application for adjustment of status pending, there is no need to file a new I-485 with the new EB-2 petition thanks to a novel procedure known as interfiling. Interfiling means that you would utilize your current adjustment application which was previously filed on the basis of a lower preference category to continue to be processed on the basis of a new I-140 with a higher preference category. This is a significant cost saving for families who may have 3 or more applications for adjustment of status pending based on a prior EB-3 petition. Interfiling would allow you to process your EB-2 PERM and I-140 then "interfile" your pending I-485 to the newly approved EB-2. Please call us to discuss this matter more or attend our upcoming webinar.
To register for the webinar click here
|USCIS Texas Service Center Admits to Processing Errors That Caused Delays|
In a question-and-answer session last week, the USCIS revealed that its Texas Service Center (TSC) was erroneously processing cases out of receipt order rather than processing them on a first-in first-out basis. Although the USCIS webpage was displaying a TSC processing time of 4.1 months, it's very likely that the TSC was causing delays that lasted much longer.
The USCIS stated that it calculates estimated processing times based upon the filing date of the oldest currently pending case being processed. However, it does not take into account delays caused by petitioners, for example, when the USCIS is waiting for a response to its request for further evidence (RFE).
If the USCIS is taking significantly longer to process a case than the estimated time posted on its website, the petitioner should notify the USCIS about the delay.
Gus Shihab, Esq.
|Shihab Immigration Blog |
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