On May 15, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it completed the computer-generated random lottery selection process for cap-subject H-1B petitions filed for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 (October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019).
The H-1B Cap Lottery Process
USCIS received 190,098 new H-1B petitions for FY2019, exceeding the 65,000 visas allocated under the regular statutory cap for Bachelor’s degree holders and the additional 20,000 visas available under the advanced-degree exemption for U.S. Master’s degree holders. Last year, USCIS received over 199,000 H-1B petitions during the FY2018 H-1B cap filing period. USCIS conducted the lottery selection process for H-1B visa petitions submitted seeking the advanced-degree exemption (U.S. Master’s Cap) first. All unselected U.S. Master’s Cap petitions were then included in the second lottery selection process conducted for petitions filed under the regular Bachelor’s degree statutory cap.
What Employers Can Expect
As previously announced, USCIS has suspended premium processing for all H-1B cap-subject petitions. All selected petitions will be processed under the regular processing timeline and petitioners may not receive notice of selection for several more weeks. Any petitions that are not selected under the FY2019 cap will be rejected and returned by USCIS with the filing fees.
Gibney will work with any impacted clients to explore alternatives and options for employees who have not been able to obtain an H-1B visa number under the FY2019 cap.
As a reminder, USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions that are cap-exempt. These include filings for extensions, amended petitions, changes of employer, concurrent employment for existing H-1B workers, and petitions filed by organizations that are cap-exempt. At this time, premium processing remains in place for H-1B petitions that are cap-exempt.
If you have any questions regarding this alert, please contact your designated Gibney representative, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.