As of November 14th, 2011 56,300 regular cap subject H-1b petitions have been submitted. The Master’s cap was reached over a month ago, and the regular H-1B cap of 65,000 will be reached soon. H-1B applicants should remember that up to 6,800 are set aside for nationals from Singapore and Chile (based on treaties).
It looks like the cap will be reached slightly sooner than the previous 2 years. In 2009 the H-1B cap was reached on December 21, 2009. Last year the 2011 H-1B cap was not reached until January 28th, 2011.
Employers who are not subject to the cap may continue to file an H-1B petition. Employers who are H-1B cap exempt include educational institutions and certain non-profits. Additionally, if the H-1B employee was already counted he does not need to be counted again. That employee is free to renew his/her H-1B visa or transfer to another employer without worrying about the cap. If you are unsure if your organization is subject to the cap, contact an H-1B attorney.