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 They are doing this to account for the fact that some of these petitions may be withdrawn, revoked or denied.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.