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H-1B Cap For FY2008 Reached In One Day
The USCIS announced today that the H-1B cap for FY2008 was reached on the first working day that applications were accepted, Monday April 2nd 2007. From the notice posted on the USCIS site -

As of late Monday afternoon (April 2), USCIS had received approximately 150,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions. USCIS must perform initial data entry for all filings received on April 2 and April 3 prior to conducting the random selection process. In light of the high volume of filings, USCIS will not be able to conduct the random selection for several weeks.

This is incredible, they received a 150 thousand applications on the very first day, and they will randomly select 65000 from the total received on April 2nd and 3rd, which means the probability of getting a work visa is less than 30%. Where are all these applications coming from though? From the various mailing lists I'm on I get the impression a huge percentage of these applications will be filed for contractors. The contractor system is something I've completely failed to grapple with so far. Most big firms hire short term contractors for specialized projects, paying hundreds of dollars per hour for these supposedly highly skilled engineers and analysts. The ground reality however, is quite different. There is an entire ecosystem of contractors and sub-contractors called dallas (slang for pimp) who train fresh graduates for a few months on tools like CrystalReports and Documentum, then create resumes showing several years of experience and get these graduates placed. Amazingly, this crackpot system works - the engineer ends up getting a tiny fraction of the actual billing rate and the rest gets distributed amongst the layers of dallas he's had to go through to get the job. There is no doubt in my mind that the deluge of applications received by the USCIS is driven in no small measure by these very unscrupulous firms.

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