USCIS Receives Record Number of H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2016
On April 7, 2015, USCIS announced that it had received enough H-1B petitions to satisfy the statutory cap of 65,000 visas and also the extra 20,000 visas allotted for individuals with advanced degrees (the “master’s cap”). At that time, USCIS gave no figure for the total number of H-1B petitions received, but expectations ran high; USCIS received 124,000 petitions in 2013 and 172,500 petitions in 2014. Yesterday, USCIS announced that the agency had received a record-shattering 233,000 H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2016!
During H-1B selection for FY 2016, USCIS used a computer-generated lottery to first select 20,000 petitions under the advanced degree exemption. Petitions that were not chosen under this exemption were then included in the general pool from which 65,000 others are chosen. Due to the sheer number of H-1B petitions submitted, only about 36 percent will be chosen and approved this year. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees. USCIS has also announced that it will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 11, 2015.
Meanwhile, USCIS will continue to accept and process other cap-exempt petitions, including current H-1B workers who have been previously counted against the cap. Specifically, USCIS will continue to process H-1B petitions regarding extensions, change of employers, change of employment terms and multiple positions.
U.S. employers use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the application of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Approved H-1B visas will be issued at the start of the 2016 federal fiscal year on Oct. 1.
Berardi Immigration Law has extensive experience preparing successful H-1B petitions on behalf of our clients each year. Given the challenging odds already present with the H-1B program, our team meticulously approaches each H-1B case with utmost care and attention. Please call or email us today to discuss how we can service your H-1B needs.