News February 2004

H-1B Cap Reached for FY2004

On the evening of February 17, 2004, USCIS announced that it had received enough new H-1B petitions to consume the 65,000 available H-1Bs for this fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2003 and ends on September 30, 2004.

In order to obtain more H-1B numbers for this fiscal year, Congress will need to enact new legislation. We cannot predict the likelihood of the President signing into law a bill increasing H-1B numbers.

Employers may once again file new H-1B petitions commencing April 1, 2004 for FY2005 H-1Bs that become available on or after October 1, 2004. We expect next year's allotment of 65,000 visas to be consumed sooner in the fiscal year taking into account that the allotment only lasted for five months this year. Employers should plan their H-1B case strategy accordingly.

Note that the cap does not affect H-1B employees who (1) change employers; (2) apply for extensions of stay; and, (3) change jobs where the employer files to amend a previously approved petition.

Employers should feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.

Attached is the USCIS press release regarding the H-1B cap.


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