Out-Dated H-1B Visa Cap Reached Far Sooner than Last Year

George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 - 202-507-7675
gtzamaras@aila.org - bwoods@aila.org

Washington, DC - Eleanor Pelta, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), commented on today's announcement from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the cap of 65,000 H-1B petitions has been reached for fiscal year 2013. This means that U.S. employers who need certain highly-skilled workers from abroad will have to wait until April 2013 to again try to apply, and wait until October 2013 for them to actually start work.

"Increased demand for H-1B visas is a good sign, since it means companies are hiring, but the arbitrary limits set on recruiting foreign talent continue to hinder economic growth. In the past few years it has taken longer to reach the cap, but as the economy improves, companies need access to these workers to keep their business growing," said Ms. Pelta.

"Other countries have reformed their immigration systems to attract and retain immigrants eager to put their skills to work," she continued. "However, despite bipartisan support for various bills that would provide a way for employers to hire these talented workers, the U.S. Congress is still behind the times in actually addressing the issue. Yes, 20,000 immigrants with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions are exempt from the cap, but that limit should be increased or eliminated altogether as part of a comprehensive reform of our immigration system. Why do we educate these students and then force them to leave our country, taking their ingenuity and talent elsewhere?"

H-1B petitions are filed by U.S. employers seeking to hire a specific foreign national in a specialty occupation involving the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge (such as the sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology). The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2013 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 12061243.