The Fy2011 H1B visa season which began on April 1, 2010 has just passed the one and a half week mark and the USCIS has released it first update regarding the H1B visa quota numbers.
So as of April 8, 2010, the USCIS has received 13,500 petitions to count towards the general 65,000 H1B visa cap. Additionally 5,600 petitions have been received for the US Advanced Degree exemption quota portion of 20,000. It should be noted that if the advanced degree quota fills up, then those petitions go into the pool for the regular 65,000 cap.
So it would seem that there is plenty of visas still available and judging by the moderate amount of applications received thus far, traditional H1B visa sponsor companies are still nowhere the levels of hiring they were in 2006-8,
This would seem to agree with the economy at large whereby, that while layoffs have in the main ceased and economic growth occurring, the levels of unemployment are still high with only certain sectors really aggressively hiring like Technology, Education and Health. Finance is certainly in a better place than any time in the last 18 months to 2 years in terms of openings.
As an additional note from the USCIS;
Should USCIS receive the necessary number of petitions to meet the cap, it will issue an update to advise the public, that the FY 2011 H-1B cap has been met as of a certain date (the “final receipt date”). The final receipt date will be based on the date USCIS physically receives the petition, not the date that the petition has been postmarked. The date USCIS informs the public that the cap has been reached may differ from the actual final receipt date.
To ensure a fair system, USCIS may randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date. USCIS will reject cap subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.
For cases filed for premium processing during the initial five-day filing window of April 1-7, the 15-day premium processing period began April 7. For cases filed for premium processing after the filing window, the premium processing period begins on the date that the petition is physically received at the correct USCIS Service Center.
Also it is good to note the change of address for sending applications here.
Finally for the official USCIS link about FY2011 H1B visa season, click here.