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H-1B Visas Are Still Available

Immigration Alert Grant Sovern, Lisa D. Duran, Eric D. Ledbetter

Over 14,000 regular H-1B visas are still available, as of April 20, 2009, for the 2010 FY H-1B Cap. USCIS is also still accepting petitions for the 20,000 advanced degree 2010 FY H-1B Cap even though it has received at least 20,000 petitions for the advanced degree slots, as it believes some of the already filed petitions will in the end be rejected or denied; therefore, it wants to create a reserve pool in order to not waste available slots.

H-1B visas are the most common type of work visa in the US. Employers may petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS - the legacy INS) to approve an H-1B for a candidate who has at least a bachelor's degree in a specialized field. It is not necessary to prove there are no U.S. workers available to fill the position. The government's fiscal year runs from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010. In past years, an employer who wanted to hire a foreign-born employee (such as a foreign student who just graduated from a U.S. university) with an H-1B had only one day to file (April 1) for the entire next fiscal year. 

It is uncertain how long slots will remain available, but the reports from USCIS indicate the filing rate continues to be very light and therefore it may be many more weeks or even months before the regular 65,000 slots for the 2010 FY H-1B Cap are filled. Therefore, if you are considering hiring a foreign worker who would require a new H-1B slot to begin employment with your organization anytime during the government's 2010 fiscal year, there is still a good chance of obtaining it.

For more information, please contact a member of our Quarles & Brady immigration team, Grant Sovern (Madison) at 608-283-2668 / grant.sovern@quarles.com, Lisa Duran (Phoenix) at 602-229-5225 / lisa.duran@quarles.com, or Eric Ledbetter (Chicago) at 312-715-5018 / eric.ledbetter@quarles.com or your local Quarles & Brady attorney.