There are 65,000 general plus 20,000 US Master’s Degree holder H-1B visa given annually. The Government’s fiscal year starts on October, and they begin taking applications 6 months before that. Thus the CIS announced that for the fiscal year 2011, they will begin accepting H-1B applications from April 01, 2010.
In recent years, ie 2007 and 2008, there were more than 100,000 petitions filed on April 01. The CIS held a lottery and only the lucky 65K plus 20K got in. This created a myth amongst employers that they have to file on April 01, or they will not get in. However that is not the case. The CIS will continue to accept applications until the H-1B quota is finished. Last year, in 2009 (for the fiscal year 2010) the quota was finished on December 21, 2009. They started accepting applications on April 01, 2009. That was because the economic downturn and US unemployment reduced the need for hiring new employees, especially H-1B employees who are expensive. The high unemployment rates still continues. In addition the January 08, 2010 memo by CIS effectively killed the IT industry sponsorship, and IT was the biggest user of H-1B visas. Thus, the H-1B quota finishing on April 01 this year is extremely unlikely.
Additionally, the Labor Condition Application, a precondition to filing the H-1B application which used to be instant this time last year, is taking about 2-3 weeks, thanks to an incompetent labor department.
Also the Request for Additional Evidence from the CIS for H-1B has increased exponentially. Thus we are taking our time to gather a ton of documents and present a water tight case to the CIS, instead of rushing to file the H-1B petition on April 01, 2010.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details