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USCIS reports that it has received well over 17,000 H-1B petitions for those who earned advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities, against a quota of 20,000.  This latest news indicates that the advanced degree quota is filling rapidly, and it may be just a matter of days (perhaps by the end of July) before the advanced degree quota is filled.  Our firm offers one-day preparation of H-1B petitions that we start by July 27.  However, even with fast preparation, we cannot guarantee that your petition will be filed on time, and the quota could be filled by the time your petition arrives at the USCIS.

The H-1B quota does not apply to anyone who is already in H-1B status, or who was previously in H-1B status during the past five years.  It also does not apply to those who will be employed by (1) an institution of higher education; (2) a nonprofit entity related or affiliated with the institution of higher education; and (3) a nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization.  In a Memo issued on June 6, 2006, the USCIS expanded this exemption to employees of a private company who work at (but are not employed by) the exempt organization.

Once the quota is filled, the next opportunity to submit a new petition for H-1B status will be on April 1, 2007 under existing law.  However, the law may change, and there are several bills pending in Congress that would increase the H-1B quota (such as the PACE Act, Skil Act, and the comprehensive immigration reform bill).

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