The fiscal year 2010 (October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010) H-1B quota will open on April 1, 2009. Similar to this fiscal year, the H-1B quota for the next fiscal year will be limited to 65,000. Additionally, the exemption for individuals who have earned U.S. Master’s or higher degree will again be limited to 20,000. Last year more than 166,000 petitions were filed against the H-1B quota with 33,000 of the 166,000 requesting the U.S. Master’s or higher degree exemption. It is again assumed this year that the H-1B quota will be met during the initial eligibility period from April 1 through April 7, 2009 and the USCIS will have to conduct a random selection process (a.k.a lottery) on the petitions received. Last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) changed its procedures to allow any petition that was filed during the first five business days after the quota opens on April 1st to be counted as if the petition was filed on April 1st.
The USCIS will again continue with this filing window for the next fiscal year. Because it is assumed that the H-1B quota will again be met during the initial filing period between April 1 and April 7, 2009, our firm is strongly recommending that employers that will need to file H-1B quota subject petitions prepare the petitions now so that they are ready to be filed when the quota opens up.