Comparative analysis of H-1B visa usage from 2007 to 2011: U.S. employers hiring more!

Back on April 27, 2011, shortly after the FY 2012 H-1B Cap opened, I posted that H-1B visa usage statistics going back to 2007 demonstrated that U.S. employers were not hiring as much as some reports would like us to believe.

Looking at the numbers going back to 2007, it was clear that H-1B usage was WAY down, and we estimated – based on usage for the first two weeks – H visas would be available until March 2012. 

Well, things picked up quite a bit!  The FY 2012 H-1B Cap was reached on November 22, 2011, approximately seven months after it opened. 

While this year’s demand was nowhere near the level in 2007 or 2008 – when the demand for H-1Bs was more than twice the supply and getting an H-1B meant that had win a lottery – this year we ran out of H-1Bs three months earlier than last year.

In my world, increased H-1B visa usage is the best indicator of an economy moving in the right direction.

After the break, please find a comparative analysis of H-1B visa usage from FY2008 to FY2011.

2011 H-1B Season [FY2012]
Cap Subject H-1Bs filed during first two weeks of April: 7,100
Cap Hit: November 22, 2011 [seven months later]

2010 H-1B Season [FY2011]
Cap Subject H-1Bs filed during first week of April: 13,500
Cap Hit: January 27, 2011 [ten months later]

2009 H-1B Season [FY2010]
Cap Subject H-1Bs filed during first week of April: 42,000
Cap Hit: December 21, 2009 [nine months later]

2008 H-1B Season [FY2009]
Cap Subject H-1Bs filed during first week of April: 140,000
Cap Hit: Immediately! First days of April 2008

2007 H-1B Season [FY2008]
Cap Subject H-1Bs filed during first week of April: 123,000
Cap Hit: Immediately! First days of April 2007

Three year H-1B visa approved for sole employee-entrepreneur; USCIS makes good on promise to encourage entrepreneurship

In August 2011, we posted a link and some background related to the current administration’s efforts to attract and retain high-skill entrepreneurs.  Specifically, a USCIS press release dated 8/2/2011 confirmed an intention to use current immigration law [including H-1B visas and National Interest Waivers] to fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment, by attracting foreign entrepreneurial talent who can create jobs, form start-up companies, and invest in areas of high unemployment. Here is the link to that post:

Today, I am happy to confirm that USCIS approved an H-1B petition for a sole employee-entrepreneur, seeking entry work in the capacity of President for a newly formed company, poised to re-vitalize an economically depressed area.

We made clear that despite his ownership interest, the Beneficiary would be an “employee” of the U.S. company and that he was exactly the type of individual targeted by USCIS in their recent announcement.   

We wish our clients the best of luck and thank USCIS for a job well done! We are currently working on a number of exciting “start-up” cases, where we intend to rely on USCIS’ recent guidance, including H-1Bs and EB-2 I-140 National Interest Waivers (green card) petitions, and hope today’s approval is a sign that USCIS will continue to help stimulate our economy through existing visa categories.

How to Prepare for an Immigration Consultation

Try to get a referral. Do you have friends or professional colleagues who have had immigration issues?? Chances are they used a lawyer and have an opinion on the quality of their work. 

If you can’t get a referral from reliable person, go a different direction. We suggest using an AILA member ONLY.  AILA stands for American Immigration Lawyers Association, and it’s the world’s largest association of attorneys and law professors who practice and teach in the area of US immigration law.

After you have schedule a consultation, you have to come to the table prepared with facts and information that the lawyer needs, to get the most for your money.

We need five types of information in a consultation:
(1)  Where you are and where you want to go, ie, where are you physically residing in the world? Where do you want to go (to the US)?
What employer do you have, if any? Which one do you want to join and at which location?
(2)  When you want to arrive to the destination – Ideally (fastest) and realistically (slowest, ie when it’s a game-changer). Notably, we normally provide the fast/slow during the consultation if you don’t know.
(3)  Age of the person who wants to relocate.
(4)  Current visa status under the rules of the destination country, if any.
(5)  Dates and outcomes of any official paperwork ever given to the person by the destination country – ie approval notices, receipt notices, visa stamps, refusals.

In our office, a consultation with an attorney helps even if you never hire us, because we spend several (free) minutes and usually 20-60 (paid) on the phone asking questions and giving answers – so that you can start shaping an immigration strategy to help you achieve your goals.  If we’re not the ones for the job, we end a call with some advice and send you to a reputable “AILA” firm which matches your needs.
If you have a complex case, getting a second opinion is advisable. Take a look at my blog post titled, “Choosing Immigration Counsel” to help you know what to look for when shopping around:

IMPORTANT TIP: If I were looking for a work-based visa (temp visas like: H-1B, E-1/2/3, TN, L-1, O-1; immigrant visas in most popular employment based [EB] preference categories [EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-5]  – I would start with a consultation process with at least 2 business immigration lawyers recommended (for good work) who have background in small- to mid-sized business immigration, with 8+ years experience to be able to develop a complex strategy covering multiple options, as needed.

Ask each lawyer which visa they recommend off the facts discussed in the 30-45 minute session, including possible back-up plans, and ask each for some examples of their recent similar cases (they should provide a 2-minute fact scenario).
IMPORTANT TIP: If the lawyer stalls during the conversation because their sub-focus is really in large/easy corporate immigration work (where complex issues are the exception rather than the rule), deportation or another immigration area. Hopefully they will hint at this potential weakness and then you simply ask them to recommend another business immigration lawyer they know and trust.
Lots of luck with your ongoing venture!