In the run-up to the H-1B cap 2016 filing season, VisaPro had predicted that intense competition will significantly bring down the odds of winning the FY 2016 H-1B lottery, and only 2 out of 5 petitions filed will be selected in the FY 2016 H-1B lottery. Yesterday’s USCIS announcement proves VisaPro’s H1B predictions were right on target yet again!
USCIS announced that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2016 cap, for the 85,000 H-1B visas, during the filing period which began April 1, 2015. This includes petitions filed against the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS further announced that on April 13, 2015, it completed the computer-generated random selection process (H-1B lottery), to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions not selected in the lottery, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.
USCIS conducted the lottery for the advanced degree exemption first, and all advanced degree petitions not selected then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. As announced earlier, USCIS would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 11.
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 cap will not be counted towards the FY 2016 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the stay of a current H-1B worker;
- 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.
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, 2016 to be able to file again for a start date no sooner than October 1, 2016.
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?.