The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 8, 2009 that the H-1B quota for fiscal year 2010 (October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010) WAS NOT met during the initial filing period. (April 1, 2009 through April 7, 2009). Therefore, the USCIS continues to accept H-1B petition filings under both the regular H-1B quota and the U.S. Master's or higher Degree exemption quota. The regular H-1B quota is limited to 65,000 and the U.S. Master's or higher Degree exemption is limited to an additional 20,000. The USCIS stated that it will continue to monitor filings and notify the public when either of the two quotas has been met. When either of the quotas has been met, a random selection process will be conducted only on the petitions received on the date which the quota is actually met. The petitions received before this date will be accepted and adjudicated by the USCIS.
UPDATE: On May 26, 2009 USCIS updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the H- 1B cap on the USCIS website. As of May 26, 2009, approximately 45,700 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been received. The agency continues to accept petitions subject to the general cap. Also, it has received approximately 20,000 petitions qualifying for the advanced degree cap exemption. USCIS will continue to accept advanced degree petitions, stating that experience has shown that not all petitions received are approvable.
For the past few years, the H-1B quota has been met during the initial filing period and the USCIS has had to conduct random selection processes of the petitions received. However, it appears that due to the current economic conditions, employers have not filed as many petitions as they have in the past. Therefore, unlike in previous years, the quota for fiscal year 2010 has not been met during the initial filing period and all H-1B petitions filed during the initial filing period will be accepted by the USCIS for processing.