On April 1st each year, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting petitions from employers seeking to employ new H-1B non-immigrants during the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1st. The number of available new H-1Bs is capped at 65,000 per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 slots available to foreign nationals holding U.S. advanced degrees. This fixed number of H-1Bs available per fiscal year is known as the “H-1B cap.”

The pace at which the H-1B cap has been met has steadily increased in recent years. To ensure that new H-1B petitions are included under the FY 2015 H-1B cap, we recommend that employers make hiring decisions for foreign national workers and job applicants as soon as possible and prepare to file petitions for new H-1B employment so that the petitions are received by USCIS on or about April 1, 2014.

In most cases, individuals who currently have H-1B status, whether with you or another employer, need not worry about the annual H-1B cap. However, other individuals, including those who are currently in F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) status may need new H-1B petitions filed on their behalf in order to transition to H-1B employment and avoid gaps in employment authorization. Please note that the H-1B cap does not apply to employees of (i) colleges and universities; (ii) nonprofit organizations related to or affiliated with a nonprofit college or university; or (iii) nonprofit or governmental research organizations.