Because of a weak domestic job market, the usual rush by employers to obtain visas for their sponsored workers in “specialty occupations has slowed to a brisk jog.
While 13,600 H-1B petitions for 2011 sponsorship of specialized foreign workers had been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the “USCIS”) as of April 15, 2010, only 5,800 H-1B petitions had been approved at that time.
Since the fiscal year cap for 2011 is 65,000 foreign workers, this means that there are nearly 60,000 spots still unclaimed, and just over 50,000 spots for which no application has been filed at all.
Anecdotally, immigration lawyers are reporting that H-1B applications in their areas are down as much as 50 to 60 percent compared to last year. Based on these numbers, it is likely that the quota for specialty workers with bachelor’s degrees will likely remain unmet for at least another month or more.
This opens up an opportunity for employers who need foreign specialty workers, and thought they might have come late to the party.
After a solid 3 percent annualized rise in Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter, following a solid gain in the fourth quarter of 2009, now might be the perfect time to start planning for a bigger workforce to meet increased demands in 2011.
For more information about sponsoring foreign workers in specialty occupations, call our offices at (847) 564-0712 and check out the section of our Website on H-1B applications.