As we are less then a week away from the H-1b cap filing period, many are speculating about the number of filings expected this year. Last year, there were almost 240,000 filings and the prior year had 233,000 however, many are predicting significantly fewer filings this year. Many of the largest users of H-1b visas see the current political climate and expect additional restrictions on the use of the H-1b visa as an opportunity to promote increased off-shoring of IT work thus reducing the number of H-1b visas needed. One such giant, Tata Consultancy Services has stated that they plan to file only 15% of the number filed last year. Other giant users including Infosys and Tech Mahindra have publicly stated that they have shifted strategies which are expected to result in fewer filings. Physical therapists are also expected to have fewer filing this year due to changes in Sec. 343 Healthcare Worker certification requirements forced on FCCPT by the USCIS. Others are simply tired of spending money and time on the preparation of petitions that have such little chance at ever being processed. On the other side of the equation are many US graduates eligible for STEM OPT extensions who are concerned that the Trump Administration may eliminate this work program and consequently, have sought H-1b lottery filings this year even though they may be entitled to two more years of employment as a student. Here in our office, we have attorneys giving a wide range of estimates with one predicting as many as 250,000. Personally, I am predicting about 160,000. We will report back as numbers are revealed and if you are in the lottery, we wish you the best.