USCIS announced today (April 7, 2014) that they have received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory H-1B cap for fiscal year 2015 (FY2015). USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the US advanced degree H-1B exemption. Unless Congress acts, no new cap-subject H-1B numbers will be available until October 1, 2015 (the first filing date for an October 1, 2015, employment start date is April 1, 2015).
Before running a random selection process, USCIS will complete initial intake for all H-1B filings received during the filing period, which ended today (April 1, 2014-April 7, 2014). Due to the high number of H-1B petitions file during the past week, USCIS cannot yet announce the date on which they will conduct the random selection process (also known as the H-1B lottery).
US businesses, organizations, universities and others use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, computer programming, finance, and many other fields.
H-1B Lottery FY2015
Since USCIS has received more cap-subject H-1B petitions than the annual statutory H-1B cap allows, they will conduct a lottery to determine which H-1B petitions will be eligible to receive an H-1B number for the coming fiscal year 2015 (FY2015, beginning October 1, 2014). They will conduct the H-1B lottery as follows: a computer-generated process will randomly select the number of H-1B petitions needed to meet the H-1B cap of 65,000 visas for the general H-1B category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all H-1B cap-subject petitions that are not selected in the H-1B lottery, unless found to be a duplicate filing.
The Agency will conduct the H-1B selection process (H-1B lottery) for the H-1B advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree H-1B petitions not selected in this initial advanced degree H-1B lottery will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit that applies to “regular” (non-US advanced degree) cap-subject H-1B petitions.
Cap-Exempt H-1B Petitions and Other H-1B Petitions (Extensions, Changes of Employer, etc.)
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the annual H-1B cap will not be counted towards the congressionally-mandated FY2015 H-1B
In addition, 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 a current H-1B worker;
- allow a current H-1B holder to change employers; and,
- allow a current H-1B worker to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.