On Friday, April 5, 2013, USCIS Headquarters announced that it had received more than enough H-1B petitions to fulfill the H-1B quota for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014.
On April 8, 2014, USCIS announced that it had received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions toward the cap. As the number of H-1B petitions received by USCIS exceeds the statutory cap of 65,000 (for most positions) plus 20,000 (for beneficiaries holding a US Master’s or higher degree), a random computer selection process has been instituted for all cap-subject petitions submitted for FY 2014 and received through April 5, 2013.
The “final receipt date” for H-1B purposes is April 5, 2013. Regulations provide that all H-1B petitions received by USCIS on or before April 5, 2013 have been submitted “under the cap,” and have been included as part of the random selection process. Any H-1B petitions received by USCIS on or after April 6, 2013 will be rejected.
USCIS has explained that the lottery process takes place in two steps. First, petitions qualifying for the 20,000 advanced degree petition numbers are set aside, and a random selection is held among those petitions for the 20,000 cap reserved to those petitions. The advanced degree-eligible petitions which are not selected in this first round will then be included into the second pool of petitions focused on meeting the 65,000 limit. As USCIS has not yet announced how many of the 124,000 petitions received were eligible for the basic cap as opposed to the advanced degree cap, it is not yet possible to calculate the odds of success for a petition filed under each of the caps.
As of this morning, our firm began receiving electronic receipts from the Premium Processing Unit at the Vermont Service Center, and we expect to continue receiving them throughout the week. For those petitions filed without Premium Processing, we expect that hard-copy receipts will not arrive until late this week or early next week. We will notify clients as soon as the receipts for their petitions arrive.
Because the cap has been reached, petitions for “new employment” of H-1Bs, that is, for employment of a person who is not yet in H-1B status for another employer, will not be accepted again until April 1, 2014. Those petitions received after April 1, 2014 must request employment starting October 1, 2014, and be subjected to the annual cap again. Please note that H-1B1 petitions for nationals of Chile and Singapore can still be approved due to free trade agreements with those countries, and that “cap exempt” employers (such as universities and nonprofit research organizations) can continue to seek H-1B status on behalf of their employees. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2014 H-1B cap.
Klasko Law will continue to monitor and update clients on the progress of the random selection processes, and once the results are known, will be contacting employers about options for those beneficiaries of H-1B petitions that did not make the cut-off for the cap.