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USCIS Reaches FY2016 H-1B Cap

FY2016 H-1B lotteryUSCIS has reached the H-1B cap for fiscal year FY2016 for cap-subject employment starting October 1, 2015. In addition, USCIS has received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the US advanced degree exemption.

Now that the FY2016 H-1B cap has been reached, USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the H-1B lottery, to randomly select the petitions necessary to meet the FY2016 H-1B cap of 65,000 visas for the general category and the FY2016 H-1B cap of 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general FY2016 H-1B cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all FY2016 H-1B filings received during the filing period, which began April 1, 2015, and ended April 7, 2015. Due to the high number of cap-subject H-1B petitions received this year, USCIS cannot yet announce the date they will conduct the random selection process.

USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions that are otherwise exempt from the annual H-1B cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their H-1B cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY2016 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields that require at least the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree, including science, engineering, computer programming, finance and others.

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