USCIS has released a statement today, April 10, 2008, announcing that they have a preliminary count of the number of cap-subject H-1B petitions.
USCIS has received “nearly 163,000” total H-1B petitions, of which “more than 31,200” were subject to the cap for recipients of a US master’s degree.
As announced in a prior Client Alert, USCIS will conduct a random selection process for which H-1Bs will be considered “selected” to be processed toward this year’s caps. USCIS also announced that it will have conducted the random selection process of petitions by next week.
Based on the number of filings, we estimate that an H-1B petition filed on behalf of a holder of a US master’s degree has approximately a 64% chance of being selected for the US master’s degree cap, and all remaining petitions have approximately a 45-50% chance of being selected for the regular cap. (STEM graduates may correct us, but the permutation of those two independent events gives a roughly 80% overall chance that a holder of a US master’s degree will receive an H number.) The percentage chance of receiving a number in the regular cap is not exact, because USCIS must subtract out the number of Chile and Singapore H-1Bs approved authorized for this year, add back the unused Chile and Singapore numbers from last year, and select some number of petitions more to account for petitions denied, abandoned or withdrawn prior to the beneficiary’s arrival in the United States. Therefore, USCIS may select somewhat more than 65,000 petitions toward the regular cap, based on past years’ usage of H-1B numbers.