The latest USCIS update for the quota was released on November 6, where the reported receiving 54,700 H1B visa petition filings on top of the already 20,000 approved advance degree cap exemption filings. The annual quota is of course 65,000 for the main group so there is still at least 10,000 visas available and probably a fair number more as many of the H1B visa petitions will be denied or revoked.
The other major update the USCIS released for the H1B visa for November is that due to the Department of Labor (DOL) having a major backlog and delays with certifying and issuing the approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) which is need prior to filing the H1B visa petition with the USCIS.
For the next 120 days from November 5 2009, through March 10, 2010 (or whenever the cap is exhausted), the USCIS will accept H1B visa petitions even without the approved LCA from the DOL if it has been filed at least 7 days prior to sending the petition to the USCIS. The only acceptable evidence of filing is a copy of DOL’s email giving notice of receipt of the LCA to prove this when filing with the USCIS without the approved LCA.
Following this H1B visa applicants and the prospective sponsor employers who make use of this temporary flexibility in the normal filing procedures for H-1B visa petitions must wait until they receive a request for evidence (RFE) before they submit the DOL approved LCA to USCIS in support of the H-1B visa petition.
The USCIS will give petitioners a period of 30 calendar days within which they must send in a DOL certified LCA in response to the RFE. Ultimately the USCIS will only approve H-1B visa petitions that include certified approved LCAs.
The most interesting thing has been since the October 1 (i.e. the start of the new US Immigration year), the rush of applicants and companies filing for the H1B visa meaning the job market is seeming picking up for college educated folks despite the 26 year record high 10.2% unemployment rate nationally.
Actually if you look at the following NY times interactive chart for unemployment you can easily see how not all groups are effected equally and the market for laid off H1B visa workers, F1 Student visa graduates and foreigners wanting to work in the US in general may be looking up finally 🙂