For the first time in several years, the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B work visas, the most sought after by Indian professionals in the US, has reached its cap.

“USCIS announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2013. June 11 was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013,” an official statement said.

In the past few years, it either crossed over to next year or the cap was reached later in the year. It is noteworthy that the cap has been reached mid-year in particular during the recent economic crisis.

In the statement, US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) said it will consider properly filed cases as received on the date that it physically received the petition; not the date that the petition was postmarked.

USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers if they arrive after June 11, 2012 and seek an employment start date in FY 2013, it said.

As of June 7, USCIS had already received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the “advanced degree” exemption.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap, it said.

In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2013 H-1B cap.

As such, USCIS will continue to accept and process these petitions to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US; change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

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