The H-1B Quota for Fiscal Year 2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012) will open on April 1, 2011. The initial filing period for the new quota season will be April 1, 2011 through April 7, 2011. If the USCIS receives more than 65,000 petitions subject to the H-1B regular quota or more than 20,000 petitions requesting the U.S. Master's or higher degree exemption from the H-1B quota, the USCIS will then conduct random selection processes on the petitions received during the initial filing period. If this occurs, the USCIS will only then adjudicate petitions that are selected in the random selection process. Petitions that are not selected through the random selection processes will then be returned unadjudicated.
For the past two fiscal years, the H-1B quota has not been met during the initial filing period due in part to the country's depressed economy and the more aggressive review of H-1B petitions by the USCIS. However, as the country's economy improves, there is a greater likelihood that the H-1B quota will be met sooner. Please note that in fiscal year 2009, more than 166,000 petitions were filed against the regular H-1B quota and the U.S. Master's or higher degree exemption from the quota. Therefore, our firm encourages employers with foreign national employees who are subject to the quota to file H-1B petitions during the initial filing period in order to increase the likelihood that the petition will be selected under the H-1B quota.