At a December 1, 2009 seminar in New York, representatives of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided an update on the H-1B cap numbers for the October 2009 – September 2010 fiscal year (please see my earlier post for more on this topic -- The H-1B "Cap" - 2010 Fiscal Year Is The Canary In The Mine) .
While a recent report indicated that 58,900 petitions had been filed against the 65,000 cap, USCIS explained that the low number of filings for nationals of Chile and Singapore (who benefit from a set aside of 6,800 visas) means that there still are visas available. USCIS also confirmed that there were approximately 2,000 petitions filed in late November. This makes it difficult to predict how much longer visas will be able for the current fiscal year. Once the cap has been reached, employers will need to wait until April 1, 2010 to file a petitions requesting an October 1, 2010 effective date. Given this recent announcement, employers that still want to file H-1B petitions for the current fiscal year likely will need to do so soon. Experience has shown that there is a rush of petitions as the filings approach the 65,000 cap. The USCIS announcement concerning recent filings suggests that this rush already has begun.