USCIS has once again received more than enough applications within the first 5 days of the fiscal year 2020 filing period to reach the annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas. The agency received 201,011 petitions this year, a 6% increase from last fiscal year.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) believes that the high number of applications highlights the need for foreign professionals to fill critical workforce gaps in the U.S.

AILA President Anastasia Tonello stated, “The announcement that the H-1B cap was reached within the first five business days highlights American employers’ need for talented foreign professionals to fill critical workforce gaps, keep the economy moving forward, create new jobs, and enhance our shared prosperity. That’s why Congress created the H-1B visa program nearly three decades ago, yet the current numerical cap limiting the total number of new H-1B visas to 85,000 each fiscal year has not been adjusted since 2004. This outdated cap does not serve the interest of U.S. workers or the economy. Instead, the cap prevents the U.S. labor force from adding talented foreign professionals who fuel economic growth and innovation.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson added, “This is the seventh year in a row that demand for H-1Bs has outpaced the supply. We know that the demand for these visas responds to market needs because during the recession, the number of petitions dropped below the cap. With the economy going strong and unemployment continuing to drop steadily-now at the lowest point since 1970-the lack of adequate visas is only hurting American businesses and workers. Congress needs to raise the cap so the number of visas reflects the needs of our economy.”

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