Something new I'm starting. USCIS puts out weekly data on the use of H-1B visas for the 2011 fiscal year which starts in October. I'm going to monitor that for readers and add my own projection on the months the caps are likely to be hit. The quota is 65,000 per fiscal year plus an additional 20,000 for folks with degrees from US advanced degree programs. Applications began being accepted on April 1st. In past years, the H-1B quota was exhausted almost immediately after the application period opened up. Last year, as a result of the recession and also as a result of USCIS and Congress' war on staffing companies, H-1B usage fell sharply and the general quota was not reached until December. This year, usage is even more anemic.
As of August 13th, 29,700 H-1Bs have been used in the 65,000 quota. 1200 H-1Bs were receipted last week which is about the same as the prior two weeks. That represents a pick up in usage over prior months where about 500 to 700 H-1Bs were used each week. This could represent a pick up in economic activity in the US. It might also reflect the fact that we're getting closer to October 1st and H-1B employers don't have to hire far in advance anymore. Based on current usage, the H-1B quota will be exhausted in 29 weeks which is in March 2011.
Masters cap cases are at 12,300. The usage has been about 300 a week and this has been typical since April. Based on current usage, that quota will be used up in 25 weeks which is in February 2011.