WASHINGTON— H-1B non-immigrant petitions that are subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2013 cap will continue to be accepted, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said yesterday in a statement. The agency began accepting these petitions on April 2, 2012.
According to USCIS, it has received approximately 17,400 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap, and approximately 8,200 petitions toward the 20,000 cap exemption for individuals with advanced degrees.
USCIS will provide regular updates on the processing of FY 2013 H-1B petitions including helpful filing information at its website highlighting the H-1B program. Should USCIS receive the number of petitions needed to meet the cap, it will issue an update advising the public that the FY 2013 H-1B cap has been met as of a certain date, known as the “final receipt date.” The date USCIS informs the public that the cap has been reached may differ from the actual final receipt date.
If necessary, USCIS said it may randomly select the number of petitions received on the final receipt date that will be considered for final inclusion within the cap. The agency will reject petitions subject to the cap that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date. Whether a petition is received by the final receipt date will be based on the date USCIS physically receives the properly filed petition, not the date that the petition is postmarked.
Cases for premium processing (faster processing of certain employment-based petitions and applications) of H-1B petitions filed during an initial five-day filing window are undergoing a 15-day processing period that began April 9. For all other H-1B petitions filed for premium processing, the processing period begins on the date that the properly filed petition is physically received at the correct USCIS Service Center.
Meanwhile, petitions filed by employers who are exempt from the cap, as well as petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap within the past six years, will not count toward the cap.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Such workers include scientists, engineers, and computer programmers, among others.
In a related development, USCIS further said in a statement that its Newark office will hold naturalization ceremony at its Washington’s Headquarters in Morristown, NJ on Friday, April 13, to welcome 37 new citizens as part of “Revolutionary Times” week. The ceremony will be led by John Thompson, USCIS Newark District Director.
The 37 citizenship candidates originate from the following 23 countries: Afghanistan, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kosovo, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Ukraine.
The USCIS said that in Fiscal Year 2011, it has naturalized more than 690,000 people.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska