Beginning on Monday, April 2, 2012, employers were able to file cap-subject H-1B visa petitions on behalf of workers in Specialty Occupations for fiscal year (FY) 2013, with employment starting on or after October 1, 2012.

USCIS informed participants at the stakeholder engagement hosted by the California and Vermont Service Centers in Laguna Niguel, CA, on April 5, 2012, that 22,323 cap-subject H-1B petitions have been received as of April 4, 2012. Approximately 25% of these cases are for U.S. advanced degrees. According to USCIS, the number of filings received in the first few days of the H-1B season is almost double the number of filings received by USCIS during the same time last year. According to its website, as of April 9, 2012, USCIS received approximately 25,600 cap-subject H-1B petitions.  

On November 22, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the statutory cap for FY 2012. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption as of October 19, 2011.  

Employers are well advised to accelerate decisions on workforce planning and hiring of high-skilled employees and prepare to file for their forecasted need as soon as possible. If this year's H-1B quota is missed, new H-1B workers (other than for lateral hires already in H-1B status and for workers exempt from the quota). For more information, please see Seyfarth's Client Alert - "H-1B Work Permit Filings: Will You Beat the Cap?".