WASHINGTON, DC – On April 7 USCIS advised that, during the initial filing window for H-1Bs, it has not received even half the number of petitions to reach the 65,000 cap. "This indicates that H-1B filings really do reflect the realities of the marketplace," said Charles H. Kuck, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
H-1B petitions are filed by U.S. employers seeking to hire a specific foreign national in a specialty occupation involving the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge (such as the sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology). The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2010 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.
USCIS has indicated that, while it has received nowhere near the number of filings that would fill the overall H-1B cap; it has received close to the number needed to fill the 20,000 exemption for those who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
Jack Pinnix notes that since H-1Bs fuel the U.S. economy, the decline is a significant negative economic indicator.