On July 6, 2006, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated count of the H-1B numbers for graduates of U.S. advanced degree programs. Each year, 20,000 H-1B visas are set aside for individuals who have earned an advanced degree (e.g. master’s degree or higher) from a U.S. institution.
As of June 30, USCIS counted 13,687 U.S. advanced degree exemption petitions. USCIS also estimated that there were an additional 500 exemption petitions received, but not yet data-entered into the system. If advanced degree exemption petitions continue to be filed at the current rate, it is expected that the cap will be reached within the next several weeks.
If you are considering hiring an individual who would qualify for an advanced degree exemption from the H-1B cap, please contact us as soon as possible. Please remember that the cap only applies to new H-1B cases, and not to extensions of an H-1B visa or a transfer of an H-1B visa from one employer to another.
We will continue to provide you with updates on the H-1B advanced degree cap as more information becomes available.