If you plan on hiring new H-1B workers or changing status of your current employees to that of an H-1B, April 1, 2009 is the first day of permissible H 1B petitions filing for the upcoming fiscal year. New H-1B petitions filed on or after April 1, 2009 should be eligible for approval with a U.S. employment start date of Oct. 1, 2009, and even with the economic downturn, the 65,000 H-1B visa quota is expected to be reached shortly after the H-1B season starts.

Please also remember that H-1B workers already counted against the H-1B cap (e.g., those that formerly held H-1B status, but did not exhaust the six year limit on staying in the United States; and H-1B petition extension and/or amendment candidates) are not subject to the upcoming H-1B annual cap.