H-1B Cap Update (Again and Last One for Awhile)

My last post on the H-1B cap hitting in the next 3 weeks was a bit off as the cap was hit instead on November 22,2011 when USCIS notified us that any additional applications filed would be rejected after this date. ( See USCIS Notice). It is not terribly surprising given the Masters Cap was depleted and the Thanksgiving Holiday was close approaching – everyone across the US scrambling to get their applications in first.

It is evident the demand for H-1Bs is consistently higher than the availability — even in a down economy over the past few years. We continue to hit the cap many months before the next round of visas are available on the government’s fiscal year (October 1st/September 30th). The cap problem needs to be remedied by Congressional action to increase the visa allotment from 65,000 currently to something much higher. Anecdotal evidence indicates that allowing foreign nationals on H-1Bs will not hurt US jobs as particular industries (e.g., medical, IT) struggle to fill positions. In addition, allowing foreign nationals to be employed in the US with H-1Bs will help the US economy to grow, including the creation of more US jobs. We are losing talented and highly educated individuals due to the H-1B cap restraint coupled with the long line for employment-based green cards. Even the conservative Heritage Foundation agrees with increasing the cap to assist the US economy. Mayor Bloomberg was right. It is economic suicide to continue to cling to the myth that all foreign labor is bad and to continue to restrict or eliminate it in a down economy. We live in an interdependent economic system in the 21st century, but our rules to move labor across the borders are still based on premises and protections set up 20 years ago or even earlier. Will we learn from this recent frenzy to scramble for H-1Bs? I sure hope so as I’m tired of telling my clients to “hurry up and file”.

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