As had been widely expected, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015. The USCIS has also announced that it has received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the US advanced degree exemption.
A computer-generated process will now randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions that are not selected, unless found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency will conduct the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
Before running the random selection process is conducted, USCIS will first complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period which ended yesterday. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.
However, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. These include petitions 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.
US businesses use the H-1B programme to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialised knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.