Each month we have done an H1B visa update since the April 1 opening date for applications in FY2010. However in recent months we have noted there has been very limited updates from the USCIS regarding the H1B visa mainly due the fact there are no updates to give.
The H1B annual visa quota cap of 65,000 is still yet to be filled and at last official announcement the amount of visas for this financial year (ending September 30, 2009) is still around 20,000. This shows how much demand has changed due to the economic woes as in recent times and H1B visa lottery has been required because in the opening day of applications in the past couple of years more applications have been received than there has been visas able to be issued.
To show how much the slowdown has effected the hiring of foreigners, one of the Top 5 H1B visa employers in most of the last few years, Tata Consultancy, has not even filed for a single H1B visa in FY2010. Now this may also be as much for PR reasons as it has been for cost saving in the current economy but the fact remains that there has been 0 filings in this year with none expected.
In fact as far as we have been concerned in recent months, our focus as far as the H1B visa has been concerned is helping those who have been laid off on their H1B visa as well as arguing against the original form of the proposed Anti H1B visa legislation.
So of course if any new announcements or developments in the H1B visa world are made we will of course document it here but with the Congress focus on Healthcare reform at the moment with an upcoming August recess and no impending hiring frenzy of immigrants expected, we expect our August updates for H1B visa developments to be not much more exciting!
After a string of posts about the H-1B visa throughout March and April as this is the height of H-1B visa season, as May approached there have been a lot less information from us about this US visa.
Why is that?
Well quite simply there has not been much to report as surprisingly as the early numbers came through from the USCIS it was very obvious the cap would not be reached in the near future. After the last 2 years of the H-1B visa lottery system due to the more than the H-1B visa quota being reached in the first couple of days after the April 1 start date to accept applications, this year has been extremely slow. The H-1B visa caps of 65,000 in the general quota and then 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption were hotly contested in recent years as companies scrambled with their foriegn employees and attorneys to get their H-1B visa petitions in on time and paid extra costs like Premium Processing ($1,000) just to help the case along and speed it up.
Well this year the most recent update from the USCIS on May 29 states that approximately 45,800 H-1B visa general quota petitions and about 20,000 H-1B visa advance degree exemption petitions have been filed. They further state they will continue to accept both general quota applications as well as advanced degree petitions even though they have received approximately the number of advanced degree H-1B visa petitions already. They are doing this to account for the fact that some of these petitions may be withdrawn, revoked or denied.
The reason why the advance degree exemption part of the H-1B visa would seem to have slightly stronger relative demand as in recent years with the reduction of the H-1B visa cap from 195,000 H-1B visas at the start of the decade to 65,000 H-1B visas, a common route for foreigners has been to get a US Masters Degree on an F-1 visa for students.
Getting this type of qualification has made them more attractive to the US employer, increased their earning potential and also importantly bought them time while studying to search and make contacts to find a sponsor employer. Therefore in recent years obtaining an H-1B visa via the F-1 visa has been a common route.
So if you are a foreigner searching for jobs, I encourage you to continue searching as you will never possibly have a chance as good as this year to have a lot of time to search and still be able to apply for an H-1B visa well into the US Summer.