As we noted in both our H1B Visa October update and H1B Visa November update as well as our General US Immigration update earlier this month, the H1B visa season was effectively extended to fill the FY2010 quota.
However as you would have noticed in these 3 updates, the H1B visa quota which was so stagnant for so long during 2009, was fast filling up at the end of the year. Now nearly at the end of the calendar year of 2009, just before Christmas, on December 22, 2009, the USCIS has announced that December 21, 2009 was the last date for accepting H1B visa petitions.
The USCIS will apply a computer-generated random selection process to all petitions that are subject to the cap and were received on Dec. 21, 2009. USCIS will use this process to select petitions needed to meet the cap. USCIS will reject, and return the fee, for all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected.
Therefore the FY2010 H1B visa allotment as it stand is effectively over, although there is a small chance that enoough of these petitions may be rejected such that there may be some available visas. Although usually the USCIS accepts a greater amount of petitions to account for this fact, so this is very unlikely.
This means that if you have a prospect employer for the H1B visa you will have to wait until the FY2011 H1B visa season begins on April 1, 2010 to file your petition via your sponsor employer. It is still now the best time to get everything organized such that you give yourself the best chance for this to happen in time as there is always a lot to organize. So if you have been searching for employment do NOT give up your search.
It should be noted that H1B visa petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2010 H-1B cap. Therefore, USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States.
- Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers.
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers.
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.