The USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) released news on October 1, 2004 that it has received enough of H-1B petitions to meet the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2005. For 2005 Congress has set an annual cap of 65,000 of which 6,800 are set aside for the H-1B program under terms of the U.S.-Chile and U.S. Singapore Free Trade Agreements. The unused numbers from the two programs, however, have been factored into the count. As a result of the reach of the cap, after today the USCIS will not accept any new H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2005 cap.
All cases received after the end of the business hour of October 1, 2004 will be returned with the filing fee. The earliest date a petitioner may file a petition requesting FY 2006 H-1B employment with an employment start date of October 1, 2005 would be April 1, 2005.
Applications from current H-1B holders for extention and change of employment will not be affected by the cap reach. USCIS also notes that petitions for new H-1B employment are not subject to the annual cap if the alien will be employed at an institution of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity, or at a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization.