Friday, July 13, 2012
OPT Issues and H-1B Cap Update for Fiscal Year '13
TO: International Students Graduating in Summer 2012/December 2012/Spring 2013
International Students on OPT or AT
RE: F-1 OPT Issues and H-1B Cap Update for FY'13
This message will address issues related to:
1. H-1B Update
2. Alternatives to the H-1B after the limit has been reached
1. As of June 12, 2012, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the cap has been reached.
Now that the cap has been reached, no more H-1B visas will be available for the 2013 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2012-Sept. 30, 2013) for private sector jobs. H-1Bs will not become available again until October 2013. This means that your employer will not be able to file until April 1, 2013 for an H-1B to begin October 1, 2013 for the private sector.
This is stressful for many people, and we share the concerns that students have about the difficulties and uncertainties of this situation. OIE is committed to providing as much support and assistance to students as we can. Other offices on campus are equally committed to assisting students; use campus resources as needed -- Career and Professional Development Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (for stress management and counseling), University Health Services (for stress or anxiety-related physical problems), etc.
2. Alternatives to the H-1B after the limit has been reached:
You should start thinking about alternatives to H-1B status if you want to stay in the US to work. Below we have listed some options for you to consider.
Students should apply for and use all of the Optional Practical Training (for F-1 students) or Academic Training (for J-1 students) for which they are eligible. F-1 students who are in designated STEM fields and have employment with an E-Verify-participating employer may be eligible for a 17-month STEM OPT extension.
Additional options to consider:
- Are you a citizen of Chile or Singapore? Check to see if H-1B1 visas (under Free Trade agreements) are available for you.
- Are you Canadian or Mexican citizen? Look for jobs that will qualify you for TN status.
- Are you Australian? Consider E-3 status.
- Have you previously been in H-1B status with a cap-counted employer? If so, an employer may petition for a new H-1B for you as you have already been cap-counted.
- Look for jobs with cap-exempt employers:
- an institution of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity;
- a nonprofit research organization; or
- a governmental research organization.
- Look for jobs with international organizations or with your government (Embassy/Consulate) to obtain a G or A status.
- Would you qualify for O-1 status? (Graduate students only.)
- Would you qualify for P status as an athlete, artist or performer?
- Is your spouse in the US? You may be able to change to a dependent status which may or may not allow you to work (depending upon the dependent status) but will allow you to remain in the US with your spouse.
- Are you interested in further study? Now may be the time to continue your education with a new degree or level of study. F-1 students are eligible for a new 12 month period of OPT for each higher level of study. F-1 students can only have one 12 month period of OPT per level of study; however, so pursuing another degree at the same level will not qualify a student for additional OPT.
- If you exhaust all options within the US, you may need to return home or search for jobs in other countries. You do not have to physically be present in the US for an employer to petition for an H-1B for you; you may decide to work outside the US for a year or two and return when H-1B visas are available again.
If you have questions about your specific situation, you are welcome to schedule an appointment with your OIE advisor by calling 412-268-5231.
The Staff of OIE