I suppose the trade-off for not reaching the H-1B cap and having to spend time sorting and running a lottery is that USCIS has more time on their hands to issue RFEs. As many of you may know, just before April 1st of this year, USCIS revised the I-129 Data Collection Supplement to include a question about whether the Petitioner/Employer received TARP funding and was therefore subject to the Employ American Workers Act signed by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009. The Service’s press release stated that the new form would not be required, however, at least the Vermont Service Center’s Premium Processing Unit has started to issue RFEs for the new version of the form in H-1B cap cases (only page 13 with the TARP box checked). The memo also states that the new form with TARP question does not apply if the employee is already working for the company in another authorized work status (i.e. OPT).
If this is any indication of how USCIS is spending their time, I think we should all be prepared for a rough processing season with many more needless RFEs to come!