U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B visa petitions received and counted towards the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2012. The H-1B cap is only relevant for new H-1B petitions where the individual does not currently possess an H-1B visa. As of October 21, 2011, USCIS has received approximately 46,200 H-1B cap-subject petitions, counting toward the annual 65,000 “regular cap.” In addition, USCIS has received the maximum annual 20,000 petitions for foreign nationals with advanced degrees, with the result that the annual “Master’s cap” now has been reached. H-1B cap-subject petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher now will be counted against the regular cap.

We expect that the H-1B regular cap will be reached by December 2011. If you are planning on pursuing a new H-1B visa on behalf of an employee, we recommend doing so immediately.