The Fiscal Year 2012 (FY2012) H-1B cap season began on April 1, 2011. Since April 1, a mere 8,000 H-1B cap-subject Petitions have been receipted by USCIS. This is much lower than in recent years and likely reflects the fact that while the US economy has improved in the recent months, it is not nearly as robust as it was in the middle part of the last decade. The USCIS has receipted in about 6,000 Masters Cap H-1B Petitions.
To put this in perspective, in FY 2011, which began April 1, 2010, the USCIS has receipted about 20,000 H-1Bs through May 1, 2010. In FY 2009, there was about 40,000 H-1Bs receipted in by USCIS through May 1, 2009. For the prior three fiscal years (FY 2006-08), the H-1B cap was reached on the very first day of filing.
For three years the H-1B demand has decreased. This should put paid to the idea that H-1B workers are used to drive down US worker’s wages. If H-1B workers were used to drive down wages, H-1B demand would remain consistent in a decreasing economy.