As expected, on April 7, 2016, during the first week it began accepting FY2017 H1B petitions for an employment start date of October 1, 2016, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the congressionally-mandated FY2017 H1B cap. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H1B petitions filed under the US advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will use a computer-generated process (the H1B lottery) to randomly select cap-subject H1B petitions needed to meet the annual H1B cap of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.
First, CIS will randomly select cap-subject H1B petitions for the advanced degree cap. All unselected advanced degree H1B petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general H1B cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject H1B petitions that are not duplicate filings.
Before running the H1B lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all H1B filings received during the FY2017 H1B filing period, which began April 1, 2016, and ended April 7, 2016. Due to the high number of H1B petitions received, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date of the H1B lottery.
USCIS will continue to accept and process FY2017 H1B petitions that are otherwise exempt from the annual H1B cap. H1B petitions filed for current H1B workers who have been counted previously against the H1B cap, and who still retain their H1B cap number, will not count toward the FY2017 H1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process H1B petitions filed to:
US businesses use the H1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.
Employers who wish to hire cap-subject H1B employees in the future will be unable to file until April 1, 2017, for a start date of October 1, 2017.