In stark contrast to previous years, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced in April that they have not yet received enough petitions for H-1B visas to meet the 65,000 numerical cap for fiscal year 2010 commencing in October. H-1B petitions are filed by U.S. employers seeking to hire a specific foreign national in a specialty occupation generally requiring a university degree (such as the sciences, medicine and health care, engineering, mathematics, education, hi-tech). In prior years, demand for these H-1B visas exceeded supply and a lottery was instituted to determine which petitions would be adjudicated. This year, USCIS indicated that, while it did not receive enough filings to reach the overall H-1B cap, it received close to the number needed to fill the 20,000 exemption for those who have earned the equivalent of a U.S. master’s degree or higher.

If you have a recent hire who requires visa sponsorship, you may still be able to file an H-1B visa petition for employment commencing October 1, 2009.