U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced on July 13 that, as of July 9, 2010, it has received approximately 24,800 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap (an increase of only 600 over the week), 10,600 H-1B visas filed subject to the U.S. Masters cap which has 20,000 limit (an increase of only 200 over the week).
The number of new H-1Bs issued each year in the United States is subject to an annual congressionally-mandated quota. Each H-1B quota applies to a particular Financial Year which begins on October 1. Applications for the upcoming Financial Year are accepted beginning on the preceding April 1 (or the first working day after that date).
Those beneficiaries not subject to the annual quota are those who currently hold H-1B status or have held H-1B status at some point in the past six years and have not been outside the United States for more than 365 consecutive days. It has generally been set at 65,000 visas per year, with some exceptions for workers at exempt organizations like universities and colleges (note: contrary to popular belief, non-profit organizations are not automatically exempt, but may be so if affiliated with a university or college). In 2000, Congress permanently exempted H-1B visas going to Universities and Government Research Laboratories from the quota.
Up to 6,800 visas may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the legislation implementing the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.
Laws also exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas.