USCIS REACHES H-1B EXEMPTION CAP FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006
USCIS – 01/18/2006 – Washington, D.C.– U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received enough H-1B petitions that qualify for the exemption from the H-1B numerical limitations for foreign workers with a U.S.-earned master’s or higher degree (the number of aliens exempted from the H-1B cap on this basis may not exceed 20,000 per fiscal year). Consequently, USCIS has determined that the “final receipt date” for these 20,000 cap-exempt H-1B petitions is January 17, 2006. Petitions received on January 17th are subject to the random selection process described below. USCIS will reject petitions requesting a foreign worker with a U.S.-earned master’s or higher degree that are received after the “final receipt date” unless the petitioner or beneficiary is eligible for a separate cap exemption.
USCIS has implemented the following procedure for H-1B filings for FY 2006 in accordance with the procedures announced in 70 FR 23775 (Allocation of Additional H-1B Visas Created by the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004):
• USCIS has closely monitored FY 2006 H-1B filings for foreign workers with a U.S.-earned master’s or higher degree and used projections to determine the number of petitions necessary to reach the congressionally mandated cap exemption of 20,000.
• Having determined that a sufficient number of petitions have been received, USCIS will identify all H-1B petitions seeking an FY 2006 number that were received on the day USCIS received the number of petitions necessary to meet the 20,000 cap exemption (“final receipt date”).
• For petitions received on the “final receipt date,” USCIS will apply a computer-generated random selection process. This process will randomly select the exact number of petitions from the day’s receipts needed to meet the congressionally mandated cap exemption of 20,000.
• After random selection, any remaining H-1B petitions for foreign workers with a U.S.-earned master’s or higher degree that do not receive an FY 2006 number and are not otherwise exempt will be rejected and returned along with the filing fee(s).
• Petitioners may re-submit their petitions when H-1B visas become available for FY 2007.
• The earliest date for which a petitioner may file a petition requesting FY 2007 H-1B employment with an employment start date of October 1, 2006, is April 1, 2006.