Will we reach the cap on the first day again? The shortage of H1B visas is no secret. And in some years, like in 2007 and 2008, all of the visas were gone the first day or two. Due to the economy the filings in 2009 were a bit slower and the cap was not reached until mid December.
Each year Congress allocates 65,000 H1B visas for individuals with at least a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent coming to work in a specialty occupation in a field related to their degree. Of these 65,000 H1B visas 6,800 visas are reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore (unused ones are used the following year). There are also 20,000 extra H1B visas available for individuals with a Master’s degree from a U.S. institution. These typically get used up rather quickly as well. In 2007 and 2008 the cap was reached in the first day or two.
The first day to file for an H1B for the fiscal 2010 year (starts October 1, 2009) is on April 1st. No one knows when the cap will be reached this year, but immigration lawyers and the USCIS are certainly preparing for a rush of H1B filings on April 1.