Houston immigration attorney Annie Banerjee has some breaking news about H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa, or specialty occupation work visa, is a non-immigrant temporary status given to individuals in a “specialty occupation” or profession. They need at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a field where the job is. Since 2007, Ms. Banerjee notes that many H-1B petitions were filed using FedEx or Express Mail by March 31st to reach New York or April 1st if the missives were enroute to California. Others were filed during the succeeding five days. The number of filings in 2009 was almost certainly less than in the preceding two years.
As of the 9th day of April, 2009, it was learned that H-1B numbers were still available, a fact that had been suspected but had been impossible to confirm. “As of this day, the 9th of April, 42,000 new H-1B cases have been filed out of a potential ceiling of 65,000. For the Master’s Cap, the CIS has received an additional 20,000 cases almost exhausting that cap. This means that the U.S. Master’s Cap is nearing capacity, but the ordinary quota is still far short of capacity,” Ms. Banerjee explains. It’s also important to remember that U.S. Master’s Degree holders can still file under the ordinary CAP.
This news about the H-1B is significant because it certainly means that an additional 23,000 new applications can still be approved, and H-1B remains a coveted status. “They still must fill the quota, that much is certain,” Ms. Banerjee says. On the last day, when the quota of applications is actually reached, a random lottery will be held for that day only, according to Ms. Banerjee. This is good news for people who have already filed; at least their applications for H-1B will be receive consideration. But concludes Ms. Banerjee, “Of course, approval is another matter.”
The recession has hit the government workers hard, not because they are losing their jobs or out of money. But the CIS seems to believe that every business is filing a false petition and therefore everything about the business must be scrutinized, according to Ms. Banerjee. “Under the kitchen sink types of evidentiary requests are becoming increasingly common, where Citizen and Immigration Service is demanding a potpourri of information from the company and then fishing for reasons to deny the case,” she explains. Ms. Banerjee files watertight cases and has yet to receive a denial while representing her clients. She researches each case diligently beforehand. If the business does not qualify, she does not take the case. Ms. Banerjee adds, “It’s not okay to take the client’s money and file knowing that the chance of a successful outcome is a low probability.”