April 8, 2009
USCIS advised that, during the first five business days of April, it has not received even half the number of petitions to reach the 65,000 cap. The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2010 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.
USCIS also indicated that, while it has received nowhere near the number of filings that would fill the overall H-1B cap, it has received close to the number needed to fill the 20,000 exemption for those who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher. This will be the first time that the U.S. master's degree exemption has filled up before the H-1B cap has.
Once the 20,000 advance degree cap is reached, H-1B beneficiaries who have completed a U.S. advanced degree can still attain H-1B status because they also qualify to file against the 65,000 regular H-1B cap (assuming the regular cap will be reached later than the advanced degree cap).