H-1B Visa 2009: The Lottery Opens

Today is April Fool’s Day. Ironically also the first day on which the US Citizenship and Immigration Bureau accepts applications for H-1B visas for employment starting from October 01, 2009.

In the past two years the USCIS has received in excess of 130,000 visa applications on the very first day itself. Thus it had to resort to a lottery system to pick 65,000 applications for consideration. That is the total number of new H-1B visas that can be granted every year.

What will be of interest this year is to see if last year’s figures get equalled and if so, how soon. It is no secret that the economy is hurting and in that scenario, the big IT and other Fortune 500 companies may not apply for as many H-1B’s as they did in previous years.

Also as someone wrote a few days ago, its bad publicity. However stupid that may sound, its sadly the truth.

Companies laying off people would find it very hard to justify not finding American citizens to fill the positions they are offering H-1B’s.

India is a major benificiary of the H-1B visa system for years. And therefore has somehow become the public image of this “immigration” hot potato. And it didnt help matter when in years past some Indian IT giants were caught with visa abnormalities.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out this year.  As the saying goes…”Let the Games Begin”.


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