H-1B Quota Filings Going Down; Cap Not Yet Reached; USCIS Issuing Denials

June 12, 2009

Since April, I have been keeping track of the FY 2010 H-1B quota cap. I've posted each of the USCIS updates on the FY 2010 H-1B count and today's update confirms that the H-1B quota is still open. Many of us expected that as in years past, the H-1B quota would be reached on April 1, which the first date that H-1B petitions are received. If not the first day, then within the first week of April. And if not by then, certainly by the summer months. We were all wrong.

Perhaps it should not be much of a surprise that with unemployment rates at an all-time high, the often-coveted H-1B visa for professional, skilled workers is still available today. USCIS reported today that about 44,400 H-1B applications have been filed to date. And as I have been reporting, USCIS has and will continue to make allocations for accepting more than enough applications because the agency has repeatedly reminded the public that many H-1B petitions will be denied.

Today's H-1B update confirms just that: lots of denials.

As of May 29, 2009, the USCIS announced that they received 45,800 petitions against the regular cap, and that although they had received approximately 20,000 petitions for the advanced degree cap, they would still accept petitions for both caps.

Less than 2 weeks later, USCIS announces that they have 44,400 or 1,100 petitions less than on May 29, 2009. This is due to the large numbers of denials they have been issuing recently. Anyone with a pending application or one that has received a Request for Evidence will confirm that H-1Bs applications are being treated with higher scrutiny that in previous years. This is not necessarily fatal for those employers and applicants that have strong cases, but before you entertain the thought of filing and H-1B petition, you should seek advice on what to prepare in advance of an H-1B RFE. --ecf