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US H-1B visa cap reached

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of June 11, 2012, the cap of 65,000 H-1B visa petitions has been met for fiscal year (FY) 2013. In addition, the 20,000 petition cap for the advanced degree H-1B visa was met on June 7, 2012.

"June 11, 2012, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013," said USCIS in a press release.

USCIS said they will consider properly filed cases received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition, not the date that the petition was postmarked. Obviously H-1B visa petitions must have been received before the visa cap was reached.

The H-1B visa program is popular among US businesses wishing to employ graduate level foreign workers in specialty occupations.

USCIS began accepting applications for the H-1B visa program on April 2, 2012 for positions with a start date of October 1, 2012 or later. Each year only 65,000 visas are available for regular H-1B visa cap petitions for graduate level foreign workers in professional or specialty occupation positions. Also, an additional 20,000 H-1B visa cap petitions visas are made available for those with an US Master degree or higher degree awarded at an US university.

There was an increased demand and a much higher rate of H-1B visa filings compared to last year. Although, the rate of filings was still quite low compared to 2008 when the H-1B visa cap was reached in the first week of the application season.

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