Friday, July 31, 2009

Watching the H-1B Cap

August is here and there are still H-1Bs!!! See my earlier post for an assessment of the cap overall, and a table of the usage numbers. The USCIS has now indicated that, as of 7/24/09, 44,900 new H-1Bs have been allocated (toward the general cap).

Above is another, better, way to look at the numbers. The table shows you how many new H-1Bs were allocated in specific time periods. (The time periods don’t reflect weekends, since the USCIS does not process petitions on weekends.) The table also shows the average H-1Bs-per-day allocation. With this, we can see that, after the initial filing crunch, 680 new H-1Bs were allocated in 70 business days, the equivalent of around 10 new H-1Bs per day.

So, with 13,200 H-1B still left (65,000 minus the 6,800 reserved for H-1B1), and at a usage rate of 10 per day, H-1Bs would be available well through to the end of the next fiscal year, with some H-1Bs going unused. Will that really happen? I tend not to think so. The end of the calendar year is a peak hiring time (fall graduates), as well as the spring. I am also confident that upticks in the economy and the labor market will mean that H-1B usage will similar tick upwards. I’ve been told I’m an optimist and I embrace that. Time will tell. In the meantime, foreign national professionals and U.S. companies who hire them are breathing easier knowing that an H-1B is not a 1:3 possibility for them, as it was last year.

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