The U.S. government will permit employers to import 85,000 foreign workers this Fall, and has begun processing H-1B applications based on U.S. Department of Labor certification that American citizens and resident aliens are unavailable for the jobs, or are otherwise unsatisfactory. Of these jobs, 20,000 are reserved for immigrants with Master's degrees or higher, and 65,000 must have bachelor's degrees or equivalents. The U.S. employment will begin October 1.
On April 1, 2010, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting new H-1B visa applications for employment that will begin on October 1, 2010. The H-1B visa is a popular choice for companies who want to hire a foreign worker to fill a "professional" or "specialty occupation" position requiring a minimum of a bachelor's degree or the equivalent.
There are 65,000 H-1B visas available each year plus an additional 20,000 H-1B visas reserved for holders of U.S. master's or higher degrees. Although USCIS reached the quota in the first week of filing in previous years, the quota this past year was not filled until December 2009.
Unlike previous years, there is no longer the possibility of one-day approval from USDOL for Labor Condition Applications – which are required in order to file the H-1B petition with USCIS. The USDOL is generally taking seven days to process Labor Condition Applications and this processing time is expected to increase as employers file more H-1Bs.
Possible candidates for H-1B visas are current employees or potential new hires now working in F-1, J-1, L-1 and TN categories whose employment authorization will expire before October 2011.