You're seeing this news here first. Attorney David Rubman in Chicago, Illinois has just shared with me the answer to a Freedom of Information Act request which definitively shows that USCIS has been undercounting H-1B usage by nearly 15% over the last five years. Approximately 45,000 too few H-1Bs have been approved between fiscal year 2008 and 2012. USCIS is required to approve 65,000 H-1B visas per year. They determine when the H-1B cap is hit each year based on their estimate of how many cases will be denied. They also are supposed to add withdrawn H-1Bs back to the total. USCIS has had wildly inaccurate estimates of their denial rates which has resulted in the undercounting. For example, for the current fiscal year, USCIS stopped accepting applications last January. But their data shows only 55,706 applications were approved and 1,820 cases were withdrawn. That means 11,000 more applications should have been approved.
This is an extremely serious failure on the part of USCIS and the employer community deserves an explanation. Right now, we're in a 13 month blackout with no H-1Bs available. The cap for the coming fiscal year was reached last June. USCIS more than likely has undercounted again and they need to reopen the application process. Furthermore, USCIS needs to add back cap numbers to account for the undercounting.
Here are the numbers for each of you to see. Now let us see how USCIS responds.