On April 1, the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) began accepting applications for H-1B visas for skilled workers. The number of applications will reveal US employers’ current appetite for overseas workers.
Because of the recession, the overall volume of applications is expected to be down from the previous two years, in which the offices were instantly flooded with applications from tech companies, outsourcing firms, school districts, and a variety of other employers.
Still, it’s widely believed that the 85,000 visas available under the cap will be used before the fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. That’s because there is some pent-up demand from 2008 applicants who didn’t receive visas, and because employers say there are positions they can’t fill with U.S. labor, even as unemployment rises.