Immigration lawyers were predicting this, but I’m still surprised it actually happened:
Illustrating the inadequacy of the quota for specialized H-1B workers, USCIS announced today that it received more applications than the 65,000 limit on April 2. April 2 was the first day on which an employer could request a first-time visa for an H-1B worker for the period that begins on October 1, 2007. Agency rules state that if the limit is reached on the first day of filing, all applications received on the first two days are put into a lottery to determine who gets the relatively few visas that are available.
In the fiscal year now in effect, the supply of such visas lasted less than eight weeks after the filing period opened. For the fiscal year that starts October 1, 2007, the supply did not last through even the first day. "Every year, the application window becomes shorter and shorter, to the point that it is now practically non-existent," said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "These high-skilled workers help to keep our system dynamic, and many sectors of the economy will suffer from this shortage."
The H-1B is a visa for skilled occupations, and is only available to workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. I’m aware of very few Americans of any political stripe who argue that fewer skilled workers should be allowed into the country. But apparently, nothing of substance can be done until Congress hashes out an immigration bill. I’m not holding my breath.