Published:  June 30, 2011

For most government agencies, including Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), fiscal year 2012 starts on October 1, 2011.  Starting on that date, U.S. employers will be able to benefit from a new crop of foreign workers who are issued H-1B work visas.  As early as April 1, 2011, interested employers and foreign workers have had an opportunity to start the process of accessing the annual supply of 85,000 visas – with 65,000 visas in the general supply and 20,000 reserved for U.S. graduate school degree holders – with workers then becoming eligible to commence employment in the U.S. as of October 1, 2011.  As of this writing, more than 40,000 H-1B visas continue to be available from the general supply, and approximately 9,000 from the supply allotted for U.S. educated advanced degree holders.

Taking into account the trend from the previous fiscal year along with the plentiful supply of visas still available as of this writing, it may very well be the case that H-1B visas will continue to be available for the upcoming fiscal year throughout the spring or even summer 2012.

As a reminder, H-1B visa eligibility is generally premised upon a bona fide job offer in a “specialty occupation” (where the attainment of a university degree is usually required), and the prospective employee must possess a degree or experiential equivalent in the field at issue.  Also, positions with a government agency or not-for-profit organization affiliated with an institution of higher learning (e.g. university) are among the type of jobs that are not subject to the H-1B cap described above.  Further, the H-1B visa cap does not impact those who already have an H-1B visa and are otherwise eligible to extend their status or change H-1B employers.

Copyright © 2011, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois