As of April 29, 2011, USCIS has received the following number of H-1Bs that count against the annual H-1B cap:
- Regular: 9,200. Up 1,200 from the previous week (4/22/11)
- Advanced US degree: 6,600. Up 700 from the previous week (4/22/11)
Although it is premature to compare FY 2012 to FY 2011 based on one month of filing, the rate of usage so far is below that of FY2011. At this time last year, USCIS received 16,500 regular cap cases and 6,900 advanced US degree cases.
The "regular" H-1B cap is limited to 65,000 per year and the "advanced US degree" cap is limited to 20,000 per year. Once the advanced US degree cap is reached, beneficiaries with US advanced degrees may still apply against the regular cap until that is also exhausted.
Since the rate of usage this fiscal year is slightly below that of last year, when the H-1B cap wasn't reached until 1/27/11 (10 months into the filing season), employers need not feel pressured to file early to beat the cap.
This is particularly beneficial to petitioners who place H-1B employees at client sites, as they can file close to and likely after 10/01/11 (the first day of FY2012). H-1B petitions for employees who work at client-sites must include client documents (e.g., client letter, MSA, SOW) which verify the nature of the project. Since new H-1B employees' status cannot start before 10/01/11, filing close to and after 10/01/11 makes it less challenging to get client documents since clients seldom engage resources months before they are needed.