• 22Apr
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap for FY 2015

    As anticipated, USCIS announced on April 7 that it received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption.

    In the first 5 business days of filing, USCIS reported to receive a record 172,500 H-1B petitions, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.  This represents a nearly 30% increase from last year’s cap filings when 124,000 H-1B petitions were received within the first week of the filing period.

    On that basis, on April 10, 2014, USCIS announced that it deployed a computer-generated random selection process (i.e., a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the quotas.

    For those cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.

    Given the exhaustion of H-1B visa numbers for fiscal year 2015, absent immigration reform legislation, the next time U.S. employers will be eligible to file an H-1B petition under the cap will be April 1, 2015, for a start date of October 2015.  Until then, employers are left with no choice but to consider alternative visa options for employing qualified foreign-born professionals. While there are a limited number of options available, there are, indeed, viable options for potential hires for whom you cannot (or will not) wait until October 1, 2015 to employ.

    Of course, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

    If you have any questions about the H-1B visa cap or would like to discuss appropriate alternatives to the H-1B category, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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