U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced an updated number of filings for H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2010 program.
USCIS has received approximately 44,000 H-1B petitions counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap. The agency continues to accept petitions subject to the general cap.
Additionally, the agency has received approximately 20,000 petitions for aliens with advanced degrees; however, we continue to accept advanced degree petitions since experience has shown that not all petitions received are approvable. Congress mandated that the first 20,000 of these types of petitions are exempt from any fiscal year cap on available H-1B visas.
For cases filed for premium processing during the initial five-day filing window, the 15-day premium processing period began April 7. For cases filed for premium processing after the filing window, the premium processing period begins on the date USCIS takes physical possession of the petition.
Though H-1B numbers have been used relatively slowly in the first week of the filing season, H-1B demand may speed up again in the coming weeks, as students complete their degrees and become newly eligible for the H-1B category. Additionally, many employers may wish to file to change the status of F-1 students on optional practical training to H-1B earlier than planned because of the unexpected availability of numbers. Employers should assess their further FY 2010 H-1B hiring needs as soon as possible so that petitions can be properly prepared and filed.