H1B 2010: Will ‘2007,2008 H1B Rush’ repeat in 2009?

This is the most trickiest and yet the most popular question asked on this blog and in direct emails to me, Will the H1B rush we have witnessed in 2007 and 2008 repeat this year in 2009 as well? The official H1B year 2010 starts from October 1st of 2009. USCIS will accept petitions starting from 1st of April, 2009. Please visit USCIS website for accurate and timely information. Now the answer to that question, without any doubt, a

Big NO.

That's right. As far as I understand, its a BIG NO. Its my gut feeling and I could be totally wrong. It is very unlikely that USCIS will run in to lottery this year. I will be surprised if even the cap is reached this year.

Enough Engineers in US and still searching.

Well there are many reasons for it. First of all, there are more than enough IT consultants and Engineers already in US still searching for a job as I write this post. So, I don’t think there is any reason for companies to look to hire somebody on H1B from a different country and bring them to US.

Now, that is true in case of American firms. What about US based consulting arms of non-American firms? These firms like Infosys, Wipro may still file for the bigger chunks of H1B petitions this year, though those numbers will be lot lower compared to 2008 and 2007.

Very unlikely that H1Bs will be filed/hired by most financial companies.

Firms that received TARP (stimulus/bailout money) from US government are less likely to engage H1B work force due to new restrictions on these firms. In simple terms, if a company that received TARP money and if it laid off in last three months or will lay off next three months an American worker (includes Citizens as well as Permanent Residents), it can not hire a H1B or file petition for a H1B. This rule effectively starts from 17th Feb 2009 and will be effective for two years. Please visit USCIS website for more and accurate information on this. I would assume that many other firms that may not have received TARP money will also follow the suit and try to hire skilled engineers that are already available in the market before thinking about H1B choice.

Dearth of Jobs/Consulting offers in Recession Market

This is the most direct reason. Job Market is badly hit with lay offs and job prospects are quite bleak in almost every functional area. With so much uncertainty in the job market, most consulting firms as well as individuals may not risk trying this route.

Some more reasons I heard recently include ..

  • rumors that Consulates are rejecting work Visas owing to reasons similar to above and
  • rumors that most H1B body shopping firms are under extensive scrutiny and investigation for fraud

This is completely based on my own limited understanding of the whole process and market conditions. Please do not use this opinion for making any sort of decisions.

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