As of October 28, 2011, USCIS has received approximately 49,200 H-1B cap-subject petitions, counting toward the annual 65,000 “regular cap.” As we reported in the October 2011 issue of the Immigration eAuthority, USCIS has received the maximum annual 20,000 petitions for foreign nationals with advanced degrees, with the result that the annual “Master’s cap” has already 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.

H-1B visa petitions are being used at a faster rate this year than they were in 2010. We expect that, at current rates, 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.