Even though we mentioned earlier that the last day for H1B visa filings was September 30 in our August update, things may have changed based on an ambiguously worded directive from the USCIS. This is also backed up by many law firms stating that they are still processing current H1B visa petitions fro FY2010.
Of course the dramatic job losses of the first half of the year slowed dramatically in the 2nd half of 2009 in the US and many laid off H1B workers, recent F1 student visa graduates and just general job seekers have had better chances finding work in recent times.
Although it should be said the overall national unemployment rate is still high at 9.8% and some sectors of the economy like finance are still reeling. However highly skilled workers and especially in industries like Online, Health, Education and New Energy are sought after and companies are certainly advertising in these areas.
So back to the H1B visa which like all US visas follow the US Immigration year which starts on October 1 and ends on September 30 the following year. So when H1B Visa FY2010 applications open on April 1, the general course of events is that the people who get these H1B visas are eligible to work from October 1, 2009. This is the beginning of FY2010.
However this year has been unusual due mainly to the economic events which have meant things like the H1B visa quota and H1B visa lottery, which have been major talking points in recent years were non-existent issues this year. Instead replaced by other issues like the anti H1B visa legislation introduced to Congress but yet to be debated formally.
So now we get to the recent unexpected announcement by the USCIS which states verbatim;
As of September 25, 2009, approximately 46,700 H-1B cap-subject petitions and approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption had been filed. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.
What this seems to be saying is that the USCIS will continue to process H1B visa petitions beyond the September 30, 2009 end of the Immigration year. So if you are still searching for a job, don’t give up as the H1B visa opportunity seems to be still open and your dreams are still alive 🙂
The beauty of this is since October 1, 2009 has passed, as soon as the application is approved you will be able to begin work which is another selling point to a potential employer and sponsor.