The economy has clearly impacted the H-1B cap. Cap-subject H-1B petitions have trickled in to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) since the 2010 fiscal year filing period opened in early April. There has been virtually no movement in H-1B numbers since the initial April 1-7 filing period, with new filings apparently being offset by employer revocations and USCIS petition denials. The most recent report from USCIS indicated that approximately 45,000 petitions had been received toward the 65,000 H-1B cap and 20,000 have been received toward the advanced degree cap exempt cases. USCIS posts periodic updates to its website and Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on H-1B cap figures.
In another sign of the weakness in employee demand, USCIS issued an update on August 6 announcing that it was re-opening the 2009 H-2B cap. Petitions can now be filed for H-2B employment commencing before October 1. USCIS had announced on January 7, 2009 that the 2009 H-2B cap had been reached and no additional H-2B petitions would be accepted. Since only 40,640 H-2B visas had been processed at U.S. Consulates, USCIS announced it will be accepting H-2B petitions so that the remaining 25,000 H-2B visas (the annual H-2B cap is 66,000) available for fiscal year 2009 do not go unused.
Note: This article was published in the August 2009 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.