WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption, a press release issued by the USICS stated.
USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.
Application for the highly sought after visa program began on April 1, for the fiscal year 2017 beginning October 1, this year. Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process.
This is fourth consecutive year that the Congressional mandated cap has been reached in the first five days of the filing. Majority of these estimated 200,000 H-1B visa applications are “certainly” either by companies that have Indian owner like TCS or companies that have substantial operations or development centres in India like IBM, Stock said in response to a question.
President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Victor Nieblas Pradis said the “avalanche” of petitions for H-1B visas mean that USCIS will once again randomly determine which of those petitions will actually be considered for one of the 85,000 available visas.
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, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to: Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States; 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.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming. For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov