A few days ago USCIS updated the count of H-2B petitions received and counted towards the H-2B cap. As of July 1, 2008, 17,305 petitions have been counted towards the 33,000 cap for the first half of fy 2009. For the lawyers filing H2B visas and employers needing them badly, these are bad news.
I expect all H2B visas for the first half of the year (starting October 1) to be gone by mid August, if not earlier. Those that have filed their Labor Certifications already, make sure to work with the local SWA’s and Department of Labor to make sure smooth processing of your files. Also, make sure to have your I-129 packages ready, so that with the LC’s are approved you will be first to file.