The H1-B constraint no longer binds

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Michael Clemens wanted to study the effects of the H1-B visa lottery. But there may be no lottery this year:

For the first time in several years the H1B visa programme, once the most sought after among Indian professionals, is unlikely to reach its cap of 65,000 before the start of the 2010 fiscal with nearly 20,000 slots lying vacant thanks to the tattered US economy.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services said it has received approximately 49,000 H1B petitions till August seven counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap, more than four months after it started accepting applications for visas for the 2010 fiscal begining this October.

This is in contrast to the previous years when the USCIS had to resort to computerised draw of lots as it received petitions outnumbering several times more than the Congressional mandated cap of 65,000 within the first few days after it started receiving H-1B applications.

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