USCIS has announced that it received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the first week of the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS has conducted a ‘lottery’ (a computer-generated random selection process) on April 7, 2013, to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. USCIS conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
USCIS has also informed that for cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, it will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing. USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases on April 15, 2013.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap; DOD petitions; and Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2014. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the FY 2014 H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.;
- 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.
It is the first time since April 2008 that USCIS has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 within the first week of the filing period and has had to use the lottery.
With the H-1B cap exhausted, employers (except cap-exempt organizations) desirous of filing new H-1B petitions will now have to wait until April 1, 2014 to be able to file again for a start date no sooner than October 1, 2014. To learn more on how you must evaluate and utilize alternatives to the H-1B category visit What Would You Do If the H-1B Cap is Reached?