Despite getting off to a slow start, the H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2012 was reached on Nov. 22, so U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no longer accepting petitions.

H-1B visas allow employers to hire foreign workers with specialized knolwedge or technical expertise, such as scientists, engineers, or computer professionals. Each year, Congress sets a limit on how many visas can be issued, and that cap was 65,000 for FY2012.

USCIS began accepting petitions under the FY2012 cap on April 1, and intially the demand for H-1B visas was down.  However, the petitions picked up, and the H-1B visa cap was met earlier than it had been the previous two years, according to ComputerWorld. The FY2010 cap was not met until Jan. 26, 2011, and the cap for FY2009 was met on Dec. 21, 2009.

This may indicate a very slow return to pre-recession H-1B visa demand.  Prior to FY2009, the cap was often met within days, even hours.

USCIS is still accepting petitions filed for those who are exempt from the cap under the "advanced degree" exemption.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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