H1Base Reviews: H1B Visa Cap Statistics


H1B Visa Cap StatisticsAs a primary work visa, the H1B visa allows skilled foreign nationals to enter the United States for up to 6 years, provided they meet certain requirements and they work in a qualifying occupation. A job offer from a U.S. employer who's willing to sponsor an H1B visa must also be obtained -- significantly, the visa is a type of work authorization that is only valid for as long as the period of employment lasts. So if an H1B-sponsored employee loses their position, then they only have a short time to find a new visa sponsorship position.

The visa is established as a part of the United States' Immigration and Nationality Act, and it mandates that candidates' occupation require the application of "specialized knowledge" at both theoretical and practical levels. Jobs that tend to qualify for this type of visa include architects, engineers, computer programmers and software developers, mathematicians, scientists, biotechnology specialists, medicine and health professionals, educators, lawyers, accountants, business specialists, theologians, artists and more. The minimum barrier for entry tends to be a bachelor's degree; although a master's degree and state licensure can be requirements as well.

H1Base Reviews Evolution of the H1B Visa Cap

At the end of the 1980s, the H1B visa cap wasn't even usually a factor -- far fewer employers filed for visas than were allowable by law. However, by the mid-1990s, the cap had become more competitive and the visas were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Significantly, the increase in H1B visas coincided with the tech-industry boom in the U.S. and the rise of the Internet as it became more commonly used.

H1Base Reviews H1B Cap Statistics & Trends (2003 - Now)

From 1999 to 2002 the cap was temporarily raised by a significant amount to meet exploding tech needs -- first to 115,000 (1998) and then to 195,000 in anticipation of "Y2K" and for the so-called "Dotcom" boom, but was not reached during those Fiscal Years. The Cap was reduced in FY2004 to 65,000 and an allowance for an additional 20,000 visas was introduced in 2005 (FY2006)

* The Actual filing period for H1B Visas goes from April 1st onward, but many of the larger companies begin looking for candidates much earlier

This chart below shows the number of H1B visas available during each year, and it shows the dates reflecting the duration and speed that the cap was reached. As you can see, the 2012 cap was reached very, very quickly, and experts anticipate that the cap will be filled at a similar speed this year as well:

H1B Cap Numbers
Date H1B Cap Reached

H1B 2003 (FY 2004 cap)
October 1, 2003

H1B 2004 (FY 2005 cap)
October 1, 2004

H1B 2005 (FY 2006 cap)
August 10, 2005

H1B 2006 (FY 2007 cap)
May 26, 2006

H1B 2007 (FY 2008 cap)
April 3, 2007

H1B 2008 (FY 2009 cap)
April 7, 2008

H1B 2009 (FY 2010 cap)
December 21, 2009

H1B 2010 (FY 2011 cap)
January 26, 2011

H1B 2011 (FY 2012 cap)
November 22, 2011

H1B 2012 (FY 2013 cap) 85,000 June 11, 2012

Find an Edge in this Year's H1B Visa Cap

If you qualify for an H1B Visa, your best bet is to get started on your job hunt early -- after all, the largest companies are already vetting candidates, and they will soon be joined by the mid-sized and smaller companies as April approaches. And you can maximize your job search efforts by using H1Base's suite of Sponsorship Employment Solutions. If you don't qualify, check out the many different U.S. work visas listed on AmericaVisaJobs.com and start your search for visa sponsorship jobs in the United States today!

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