H-1B Cap for Fiscal Year 2015 Has Been Reached

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U.S. employers of all sizes use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in professional level occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in their field.

Several years ago, the U.S. Congress set a limit or “cap” of 65,000 H-1B visas for each fiscal year (FY). An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available for foreign workers in a specialty occupation who hold a U.S. Master’s Degree in their field.

An H-1B petition that is subject to the annual cap may be submitted to immigration six months in advance of the commencement of the next fiscal year (October 1). Therefore, for many years, every April 1, U.S. businesses engage in a rush to file H-1B petitions for university-educated foreign professionals in order to secure an adequate workforce and remain competitive in the global economy. In recent years, the annual allotment of 85,000 H-1B visas has been exhausted in the first days of April.

It was no surprise when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7, 2014 that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B visa petitions to meet both the 65,000 cap and 20,000 cap for foreign workers with a U.S. Master’s Degree.

All H-1B petitions filed during the first week of filing will be sorted and then subject to a computer generated lottery. This lottery will first randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet 20,000 Master’s cap. All petitions rejected under the Master’s cap will be included in the lottery for the remaining 65,000 H-1B visas.
USCIS will reject the petitions that are not selected in the lottery and return the filing fees to the Petitioner.

USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions that are exempt from the annual cap. This includes petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been previously counted against the cap, or those that may not be subject to the annual cap.

Additional information about H-1B petitions subject to the cap for FY 2015 can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-reaches-fy-2015-h-1b-cap.

 

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