As of June 19, 2009, USCIS has received approximately 44,500 H-1B petitions subject to the bachelor’s degree cap, of which there are 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Also, USCIS announced that it has received approximately 20,000 petitions subject to the advanced degree cap exemption. Even though the limit is 20,000 for this cap, USCIS states that it will continue to accept advanced degree petitions, noting that not all petitions received are approvable.
This is great news for those seeking H-1B status. The numbers have barely moved since the last count (approximately 100). F-1 students just starting in OPT status should consider filing this year, since next year, if the economy heats up, it could become another lottery without any guarantee of an H-1B number.