Monday, April 30, 2012

H-1B CAP COUNT: 29,200

The USCIS has just updated the H-1B Cap Count. The latest H-1B usage numbers are listed in the chart below. MU Law is also listing its estimated dates when the H-1B cap will be reached for each category. We will regularly update the projection.

H-1B Cap Count
Cap TypeAvailable ReceivedUpdated MU Projection
US Masters20,00012,3004/27/20125/20/2012


Many healthcare professions ordinarily qualify for H-1B status, includingPhysical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Therapists, and some Registered Nursing positions.

International workers who are working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as “H-1B transfer” cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year.

Employees that need a "cap-subject" H-1B include:

* International students working on an EAD card under an OPT or CPT program after having attended a U.S. school

* International employees working on a TN may need an H-1B filed for them in order for them to pursue a permanent residency (green card) case

* Prospective international employees in another visa status e.g. H-4, L-2, J-1, F-1

* H-1B workers with a cap exempt organization

* Prospective international employees currently living abroad

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

H-1B CAP COUNT: 25,000

The USCIS has just updated the H-1B Cap Count. The latest H-1B usage numbers are listed in the chart below. MU Law is also listing its estimated dates when the H-1B cap will be reached for each category. We will regularly update the projection.

H-1B Cap Count
Cap TypeAvailable ReceivedUpdated MU Projection
US Masters20,00010,9004/20/20125/20/2012


Thursday, April 19, 2012


The Department of Justice reached a settlement with Onward Healthcare resolving allegations of discrimination by Onward. The DOJ said that Onward posted discriminatory job advertisements on its home page and third party websites that limited its jobs to U.S. citizens. The Immigration and Nationality Act generally prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of citizenship status unless required by law, regulation or government contract.

The settlement calls for Onward to pay $100,000 in civil penalties and to change internal policies to comply with federal law. The DOJ will also monitor Onward’s behavior for the next three years.

Monday, April 16, 2012


American employers are not the only ones frustrated with the US government's application of the H-1B program. The Government of India is launching a formal complaint with the World Trade Organisation over the US' "highly discriminatory" practice of denying H-1B visas and charging excessive processing fees. Rahul Khullar, India's trade secretary says that the Indian government repeatedly has tried to get a mutually amicable resolution to the twin issues.

In the last two years American companies have seen the highest denial rates of H-1B and L-1 visa petitions, despite the fact that there has not been any legislative change by Congress or change to the USCIS' regulations.

These denial rates come on the heels of a 2010 fee hike that doubled processing fees for companies who file large numbers of H-1B or L-1 visas. The processing fees are paid regardless of whether the visas are approved or issued.

H-1B visas are used by healthcare employers to hire healthcare workers in shortage occupations such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Medicine, Speech Language Pathology, and some nursing specialties.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Earlier this month, the DOS announced a reduction in the fee bill price for immigrant visa applications. Some nonimmigrant visa fee charges increased. Their initial reports indicated that new fees would go into effect on June 27, 2012.

The DOS has now announced that the new reduced visa fee bill price is in effect starting today, April 13, 2012. The DOS will not refund any fees paid at the old, higher rate. Nonimmigrants who have already paid their lower rate have until July 12, 2012 to have their interview. Any nonimmigrants who have their interview after July 12, 2012 will be invoiced for the difference between the two rates.

Monday, April 9, 2012


The Department of State has just released the May 2012 Visa Bulletin.

As expected, this Visa Bulletin retrogressed the India and China the EB-2 categories, after several months of big progressions. The EB-3 categories had their usual modest gains of a few weeks in all categories.

The Visa Bulletin confirmed that although the Indian and China EB-2 dates were retrogressed to August 15, 2007, it is expected that these dates will progress to the prior May 2010 date with the October 2012 Visa Bulletin. The October 2012 Visa Bulletin is the first visa bulletin of the 2013 fiscal year.

The full explanation from the May 2012 Visa Bulletin:

Due to the rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, demand for China and India Employment Second preference numbers has increased dramatically during recent months, and at a much faster rate than had been expected. Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress that cut-off date to August 15, 2007 in an attempt to hold number use within the annual limit while maintaining availability for those countries that have not yet reached their per-country limit. Notices were included in the November, January, and February Visa Bulletins alerting readers to the possibility of such a retrogression. While corrective action has become necessary earlier than was anticipated based on the information available at the time cut-off dates were determined, it is hoped that readers are not caught off guard by this retrogression.

Should additional information regarding potential demand become available, it may be necessary to take additional corrective action at any time.

Every effort will be made to return the China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date to the previously announced April date of May 1, 2010. This will be done as quickly as possible under the FY-2013 annual limits, which take effect October 1, 2012. It will not be possible to speculate on the cut-off date which may apply at that time until late summer.

May 2012 Visa Bulletin
All Other CountriesChina IndiaMexico
EB-2Current 15AUG0715AUG07Current

Friday, April 6, 2012

17,000 H-1Bs through April 4

The USCIS has just informed AILA 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. Based on this announcement, approximately 17,000 of the 65,000 “regular” H-1B cap-subject petitions have been filed and 5,500 “Masters” H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Last year, the USCIS reported that 17,400 “regular” H-1B cap-subject numbers had been used through June 29, 2011. It took about 4 and one-half months for the remaining 47,600 “regular” H-1B slots to be filled. If this year’s pace were to equal last year’s pace, that would mean that the H-1B numbers would be exhausted by mid-August.

However this year’s demand seems certain to be greater than that. Last year 15,000 “regular” H-1B cap-subject H-1Bs were filed in the final month (November 2011). If the November 2011 demand is a reasonable metric for usage projection, this year’s H-1B cap would be reached approximately June 1, 2012.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Immigrant visa fees always seem to be on the rise and so it is welcome news to hear that the Business Immigrant Visa Fee Bill price will be dropping from $720 to $405, a decrease of 44 percent. The Fee Bill normally is paid during the National Visa Center stage of Consular Processing for overseas foreign-nationals seeking an immigrant visa. Many healthcare workers process their green card cases at Consulates because of the unavailability of H-1B visas for certain occupations.

This drop is Fee Bill price is great news for all EB-2 and EB-3 visa applicants and their family members. The new lower Fee Bill price is not immediate operative. It is expected to go into effect June 27, 2012 unless the Department of State receives negative comments. The Fee Bill decrease is one-part of an overall suite of price changes at Consulates and Embassies. Most of the other changes are slight increases in the price charged for other visa services.