USCIS recently posted an update of the amount of H-1B petitions the federal agency has received. As of October 25, 2009, roughly 52,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions and 20,000 H-1B petitions that qualify for the advanced degree cap exemption have been filed with USCIS. A total of 65,000 H-1B visas are available for this fiscal year under the current annual cap limitations. USCIS comments that it will continue to accept cap-subject and advanced degree petitions until it has received enough H-1B petitions to fulfill the limits posed by regulations.
In previous years, USCIS received large amounts of H-1B petitions. In many cases the agency stopped accepting these petitions days or weeks after the initial acceptance date. This year, however, due to the economic recession, the amount of filed petitions is much lower. On April 17, 2009, in their first public notification about this year’s H-1B program, USCIS announced they had received roughly 43,000 H-1B petitions and 20,000 that qualified for the advanced degree cap exemption.