April 1 is just two days away. Immigration attorneys will send H-1B visa petitions by March 31, 2009 via express courier services like FedEx and DHL to USCIS processing centers.
The USCIS gave some guidance about this new H-1B visa season. They are not sure how many applications will be submitted.
Last year (April 2008 for FY 2009), USCIS predicted that a higher number of H-1B petitions would be filed.
But this year, most of them are expecting H-1B Quota will not be reached within the first 5 business days of April (until April 7).
Update from USCIS about H-1B filing
I read from a few immigration attorney blogs about the updates from USCIS through AILA. These are what I had inferred from the announcement:
- USCIS receives a sufficient number of cases in the first five business days of April to reach the H-1B cap, then the “lottery” will be conducted
- All the H-1B petitions submitted until April 7, all five days from April 1 will be included in the lottery.
- If there is a lottery, then receipts will be issued only to petitions selected in the lottery process.
- All the H-1B petitions will have a receipt date of April 8, 2009.
- If the H-1B quota is not reached until April 7, 2009, then USCIS will continue to receive and accept petitions until the day upon which USCIS concludes that a sufficient number of petitions had been reached.
- A mini lottery will be conducted for those cases received on the last day (What is H-1B 2010 Mini Lottery?)
H-1B Visa Predictions from USCIS
While USCIS believes that the cap will be reached before October 1, 2009, they are not able to make any further predictions.
This is despite the agency was able to hear from various stakeholder groups (including AILA) that fewer petitions are expected to be filed during this H-1B cap season.
Poll Results – H-1B 2010 Quota Predictions