INS Press Release Announcing H-1B Cap Reached

June 11, 1999

INS Announces H-1B Procedures As Fiscal Year 1999 Cap Is Reached

WASHINGTON – The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) announced today that it will stop accepting H-1B visa petitions for Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 employment of H-1B workers. The INS has determined that the 115,000 annual cap on the H-1B visa category for FY 1999 will be reached on June 15, 1999, based on petitions already filed. As of May 31, 1999, INS had approved 108,386 H-1B visa petitions.

Petitions for First-Time H1-B Employment returned along with the accompanying fees to petitioners. Petitioners may resubmit their petitions at any time and request employment beginning on or after October 1, 1999, when H-1B visas for FY 2000 become available.

  • For FY 1999 petitions for first-time employment of H-1B workers that are received before June 15, 1999, INS will adjudicate the petitions and, if approvable, will grant the petitions with a valid start date of October 1, 1999, when H-1B visas for FY 2000 become available.
  • Petitioners may choose to withdraw their petitions and forfeit the fees by submitting a written request containing the receipt number of the H-1B petition, the name of the employer, and the name of the individual for whom the petition was filed. The request should be faxed to the Immigration Services Division, Attention: H-1B Withdrawal, FAX (202) 305-0108.
  • H-1B petitions requesting first-time employment of H-1B workers beginning on or after October 1, 1999 (FY 2000) will be processed as received by INS and counted against the 115,000 cap for FY 2000.

Exceptions – Petitions for Current H-1B Workers

Concurrently, INS is publishing in the Federal Register an interim regulation to accommodate certain foreign students (F visa category) and exchange visitors (J visa category) who are already in the country awaiting approval of an H-1B petition filed on their behalf by an employer. The regulation allows such individuals, and their dependent spouses and children, to remain in the United States while waiting for new H-1B visas to become available on October 1, 1999. However, they are not permitted to work or engage in any other activity that would be in violation of their F or J immigration status.

Exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement are not covered by this regulation.


Q. What is the receipt date (the date INS received the petition) of the latest petition that will be granted H-1B status for FY 1999?

A. Yes,H-1B visas have reached the 65,000 annual cap for the past two years. In FY 1997, the 65,000 annual limit was reached on September 1, 1997. A total of 5,099 beneficiaries approved during the rest of the fiscal year (September 2, 1997 through September 30, 1997) were held in abeyance until the beginning of the new fiscal year, October 1, 1997, and were applied to the FY 1998 limit.

Q. What are the top 10 countries of birth of the beneficiaries of H-1B petitions?

A. For the first half of FY 1999, the top 10 countries are:

India = 46% China = 10% Canada = 4% Philippines = 3%
Taiwan = 2% Korea = 2% Japan = 2% United Kingdom = 2%
Pakistan = 2% Russia = 2%

Q. What are the top occupations of the beneficiaries of H-1B petitions?

A. The INS will begin compiling complete information on the occupations of H-1B beneficiaries, as well as their education and compensation, beginning in FY 2000, as required by the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.

– INS –

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 99061440.