The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin to accept H-1B quota subject petitions for fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009) on April 1, 2008. Similar to this fiscal year, the H-1B quota for fiscal year 2009 will be 65,000, minus any petitions used by the H-1B1 Chilean and Singaporean category. During this fiscal year, the H-1B quota was met in one day and the USCIS had to conduct random selection process of the more than 123,000 petitions filed against the quota. It is assumed that the fiscal year 2009 quota will also be met in one day, namely on April 1, 2008. It is also assumed that the USCIS will have to conduct a random selection process on all of the petitions received because the USCIS may receive more than three times the number of petitions allowable in this year’s quota. If an employer’s H-1B quota subject petition is not received before the fiscal year 2009 quota is met, the earliest date upon which the employer’s H- 1B quota subject worker may begin working for the company pursuan to H-1B status will be October 1, 2009, assuming that the employer’s H-1B quota subject petition is accepted in the fiscal year 2010 quota.
During this fiscal year, the U.S. Masters or higher degree exemption from the H-1B quota was limited to 20,000. This limitation will continue with the fiscal year 2009 H-1B quota. This exemption was exhausted during this fiscal year in approximately 30 days. However, it is assumed that this exemption in the fiscal year 2009 quota may be met in as little as one day, namely on April 1, 2008. If the exemption is exhausted in a single day and the USCIS receives more than 20,000 petitions requesting the exemption, the USCIS will run another random selection process for this exemption. According to the USCIS, a random selection process for this exemption would be conducted before the random selection process for the regular H-1B quota. Any petitions requesting the exemption that are not selected in the random selection process for the exemption would then be considered in the random selection process for the regular H-1B quota.
Due to the fact that it is assumed that both the regular H-1B quota and the U.S. Masters or higher degree exemption from the H-1B quota will be met in one day, our firm is strongly encouraging its clients to immediately forward the documentation required to process H-1B petitions for its H-1B quota subject current workers and potential candidates. If this documentation is forwarded immediately, it will allow sufficient time so that the petition is processed and received by the USCIS on April 1, 2008.