The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) recently announced that it issued a record number of F, J and M nonimmigrant visas in fiscal year 2008. The DOS stated that it issued a combined 710,631 F, J and M student and exchange visitor visas in fiscal year 2008. This represented a 9.1% increase over fiscal year 2007 and more than a 26% increase over fiscal year 2001. The DOS stated that this is the third fiscal year in a row for breaking a record in this area.
Although the DOS continues to issue a record of F, J and M nonimmigrant visas, the H-1B quota continues to remain at 65,000. Therefore, if these F, J and M student and exchange visitors want to remain in the United States after completing their studies, most have to vie for a number in the H-1B quota. Last year, more than two individuals applied for each available number in the H-1B quota. Due to the increasing number of F, J and M student and exchange visitors being admitted to the United States each year, it is assumed that demand for initial H- 1B status will continue to increase while the artificial cap of 65,000 is not being raised by Congress.