On Nov 03 2009 by William A. Stock

H-1B Cap: October 1 Brings Increased Filings

We have previously commented on the reduced usage of H-1B numbers, due to the increased availability of US workers (so employers do not need to hire H-1B workers) and the general economic slowdown.

USCIS has updated its “cap count” for H-1Bs for the first time since the new fiscal year started on October 1, and the pace of filings has definitely accelerated.  In mid-September, about 46,000 of the 65,000 available “regular” H-1B petitions had been approved, a number which had held relatively steady since early August.

As of October 25, however, USCIS announced it has approved approximately 53,000 of the 65,000 available “regular” H-1B petitions.  Based on that usage, we expect H-1B numbers may become unavailable as of late December or early January (or possibly sooner, if there is a rush of cases filed this month).

The separate 20,000 quota for holders of US master’s degree is also nearly completely filled, so will not likely be available for much longer than the “regular” H-1B quota.