So is the economic downturn over already, if you look at the recent H1B filings it may well be the case. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its periodic count of FY2010 H-1B cap filings, revealing that there has been a significant increase in the rate of filings during the month of October 2009. USCIS has stated that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to use all of the available 20,000 H-1B numbers that are reserved for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges or universities, which means that the “advanced degree” H-1B cap for FY2010 has been reached. H-1Bs for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges or universities can still be filed, but those petitions will now count toward the general H-1B cap of 65,000.
Around 6,200 cap-subject H-1B petitions were filed in October 2009. This is a significant number, especially when compared to the only 1,500 filings received by USCIS in September 2009. In total, as of October 25, 2009, approximately 52,800 H-1B petitions that count against the congressionally-mandated 65,000 limit have been received by USCIS. This leaves only around 12,000 H-1B cap numbers for FY2010, without taking into account the 6,800 H-1B cap numbers that are reserved for nationals of Chile and Singapore. If all 6,800 of these “reserved” numbers are removed from the 65,000 cap along with the 52,800 H-1B cap petitions already received, there are only around 5,400 FY2010 H-1B cap numbers remaining.
As a practical matter, USCIS will likely accept well more than 5,400 additional cap cases in FY2010, as the number of cases USCIS will accept anticipates that a certain number of filings will be withdrawn or denied. Additionally, nowhere near the full 6,800 Chile/Singapore numbers have historically been actually used by nationals of Chile or Singapore. Thus, most of those numbers are applied by USCIS to the general 65,000 cap.
While USCIS is still accepting H-1B petitions for FY 2010, the recent jump in filing means that by mid December or so we will have no Visas left. My advice go ahead and file now.