As expected, the USCIS announced on Friday, that it had reached the cap for new H-1b cases during the first five days of April and a lottery will be held. If last year is any indication, we should start to receive receipts for those lucky few within the next 2 weeks. More updates will be provided as they become available.
The USCIS has announced that it has completed the data entry of all H-1b cap lottery cases and that rejected cases will begin to be returned next week. Receipts are expected to continue to trickle in over the next week. The USCIS did not provide an estimate for when all receipts or rejected cases would be sent out but, we expect it to be another 4- 6 weeks.
Happy April 1st, the day where hope of a coveted H-1b visa still feels in reach. Due to April 1st falling on a Saturday, the H-1b cap period this year begins on Monday April 3rd and all cases received between Monday and Friday April 7th, will be included in the lottery. Information about the cap being reached, the lottery being conducted and the commencement of receipts being mailed out can all be found on this very helpful USCIS page. I hope you all get a receipt !
H-1b cap lottery filings are less than three (3) months away ! HLG will be hosting a conference call on Thurs. Feb 2nd for clients to discuss issues and strategies relating to this year's lottery filings. Register at the HLG web-site. The call is free. Note there are two calls scheduled, one for healthcare cos. and the second for everyone else.
In 2008, 163,000 H-1b cap petitions were received by USCIS between April 1st and April 7th for fiscal year 2009. Since only 65,000 new H-1bs can be approved in any fiscal year, USCIS faced the problematic situation of determining which cases should be adjudicated and which should be returned. USCIS used a random selection process (also known as a lottery) to choose which cases to review and rejected any cases that were not selected. As a result of this predicament, the Department of Homeland Security issued new regulations. If more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1b petitions are received within the first five business days after the first date that cap subject petitions can be submitted, USCIS will conduct a random selection process to determine which cases will be considered. Those selected will be adjudicated. All other cases will be returned with their applicable fees. What this regulation means as a practical matter, is that a case received on Thurs April 5th, is treated the same as if it was received on Mon. April 2nd. While we do not expect the H-1b cap to be reached between April 2nd and April 6th for FY 2013, this information should be kept in mind as employers determine when they plan to file new cap-subject petitions.
Today, the USCIS announced that it received 163,000 H-1b cases for the FY 2009 cap of which 31,200 were for the advanced degree cap. The lottery will begin shortly so keep your fingers crossed. There has been no indication as to when receipts will be issued for accepted cases or when rejected cases will be returned however, expect the lottery process to take several weeks.