H-1B Annual Quota Fills in Week 1

Unsurprisingly, the H-1 annual cap filled today. H-1Bs are a nonimmigrant category visa type, reserved for specialty occupation workers with at least a Bachelor’s Degree or the equivalent, coming to work for a U.S. employer in position requiring such an educational background. In recent years, the annual quota has taken months to fill. The expectation this year was that the quota would fill fast, but nobody knew for sure how fast.  Now we do.  For those who were able to get their petitions filed by April 5th, congratulations! Now….there will be a lottery.

For those who did not meet the annual quota, there are a few considerations.  First, know that not all employers are subject to the H-1B cap.  There are cap-exempt employers, such as non-profit research organizations, institutions of higher education, and organizations affiliated with institutions of higher education.  Second, if a beneficiary was previously counted under another cap in the past six years, they are still eligible for an H-1B with a new employer.  Third, this year the possibility of immigration reform is higher than ever. Congress may end up allocating more numbers.  We’ll stay on top of these points, and in fact, I will be traveling to Washington D.C. soon to discuss this employer concern, amongst others, with legislators.

Today’s announcement from USCIS:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2014. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption. After today, USCIS will not accept H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2014 cap or the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2013. The agency will conduct the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. Due to the high number of petitions received, USCIS is not yet able to announce the exact day of the random selection process. Also, USCIS is currently not providing the total number of petitions received, as we continue to accept filings today. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

USCIS will provide more detailed information about the H-1B cap next week.

For more information about USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.