Due to a lack of Congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that the congressionally mandated cap of 65,000 H-1B petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2015 has been met. USCIS has also exceeded the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will finish the initial processing of all filings turned in by April 7. It is currently too late to submit a petition until next year, unless there is an exception.
In the next phase, a computer will select 65,000 petitions at random for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption, respectively. USCIS has said it is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process because of the volume of petitions.
All petitions which do not get randomly selected will be rejected and the filing fee returned.
The advanced degree exemption lottery will be processed first so that unselected petitions can become part of the random selection process for the general 65,000 limit.
Note: The caps will have no effect on foreign nationals who have already obtained H-1B visas to extend their stay, change employers, change the terms of their employment, or obtain a concurrent H-1B position.
This is not necessarily the end of the road for employers who seek to sponsor foreign nationals for employment. There are alternatives to the H-1B visa. Click here to view my series of articles on other steps that businesses can take to sponsor a foreign national for employment.
For official bulletins or anouncements, visit www.uscis.gov or follow them on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube(/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.