So there hasn’t been to much extra news about the upcoming H1B visa season from either official channels like the USCIS or the news media in general. The opening date for accepting H1B visa applications is Thursday April 1, 2010.
The one important thing to note that has been noted by the USCIS in March relates to the approved Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor. This must be filed as a supporting document to your H1B visa petition to the USCIS in an approved status or the application will automatically be rejected. As a temporary measure late last year, the USCIS briefly allowed H1B visa petitions to be filed with this document still pending and then filed subsequently. That was a temporary measure and no longer applies.
There has been little indication from the general media and the hiring environment as to whether the H1B visa quota will be exhausted quickly or take longer as it did last year to fill up fully. However given that the US employment market has stabilized and may in the professional services sector (where the H1B visa is most prevalent) are seeing openings increase, this may well be the calm before the storm. It is definitely better to be prepared early.
Finally we just we would clear up a couple of common questions we are getting this H1B visa season. The H1B visa itself, work authorization period will begin on October 1, 2010. This is a fixed date and cannot be brought forward and relates to the start of the US Immigration year. So regardless of when you receive approval, if you are not legal in the US under another current status (i.e. F1 Visa OPT), then you have to exit the US, apply for the H1B visa overseas and then re-enter after October 1.
Also it is true in most cases, non-profit organizations, government organizations and higher education institutions do not count towards the 65,000 general H1B quota cap or the 20,000 US based advanced degree addition.