Wednesday, April 7, 2010

H-1B numbers down dramatically

Filing for the H-1B visa cap opened on April 1, 2010, and this year the filing numbers are down dramatically. Filing numbers are about one-third of last year’s numbers and a staggering 10% from the H-1B filing numbers in the middle of the past decade.

Each year, the USCIS is allowed to approve 65,000 H-1B “regular” Petitions. USCIS is also allowed to approve 20,000 H-1B “Masters” Petitions; these are cases for foreign-workers who have graduated from a US-based University with at least a Masters degree. Any cases received at one of the two H-1B Service Centers before April 7 are treated as “Day One” filings.

Reports have indicated that the Vermont Service Center has received about 7,500 cap-subject “regular” H-1 Petitions and about 3,000 Masters Petitions. Yesterday’s report, which is from an AILA member at a Vermont Service Center meeting, indicates that there were similar numbers received at the California Service Center.

All told, this means that fewer than 15,000 regular H-1B Petitions have been received and 6,000 US Masters degree H-1Bs. Last year the USCIS received a little more than 40,000 regular H-1 filings during the first week. In the middle of the decade it was common for the USCIS to receive over 100,000 H-1B petitions.

The H-1B is a common visa for healthcare professionals such as Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, some nursing positions, and other professions ordinarily associated with a Bachelors degree or greater. The H-1B traditionally has been in great demand by the IT community.

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