In bad news for U.S. employers seeking needed, high skilled foreign talent, USCIS announced on April 7, 2015 that it had enough H-1B petitions on hand to reach the annual advanced degree cap of 20,000 H-1B visa numbers, and the annual general cap of 65,000 H-1B visa numbers for the fiscal year beginning October 1. It will shortly conduct a random selection of those petitions on hand to determine which cases will be chosen for an October 1 start date. Making matters worse, delivery services mishandled numerous H-1B petition filings resulting in delayed delivery or damaged delivery of H-1B petition filings. USCIS issued guidance to affected employers on how to proceed only the day before, April 6, 2015, leaving little time for affected employers to act.
USCIS will use a lottery to decide which cases it will select. It will reject and later return all cases not chosen, including filing fees. USCIS has not announced when it will conduct the “H-1B lottery” nor the total number of petitions it has received since it began accepting H-1B filings on April 1 for the fiscal year beginning on October 1. During the last fiscal year, USCIS received more than 124,000 H-1B petitions.
U.S. employers were further frustrated this year by news that trusted delivery services either delayed or damaged numerous H-1B filings. Many employers learned too late of the delivery fiasco and USCIS provided instructions on how to withdraw the first and re-submit another H-1B petition the day before the cap was reached, which was too late for many employers whose cases arrived late or damaged to timely withdraw and re-file.
Stewart Rabinowitz practices United States immigration and nationality law. He is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. is an immigration law firm representing businesses, families, and individuals.