The results seem to be in! According to the USCIS there appear to have been 172,500 H-1B visas submitted within the first five (5) days after April 1st 2014. This is very close to the number of H-1B visas submitted in 2008. The Lottery or Random Selection for the H-1Bs for FY 2015 seems to be proceeding. While we are very pleased to see so many receipts for the cases that VISASERVE submitted for its clients, we are also deeply frustrated with the system in general. The H-1B program highlights many of the flaws in our current immigration system, particularly the lack of flexibility in responding to fluctuations in the economy, changes in business models, and evolving business needs.
On Monday, April 7, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap, both regular and master's, for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Because of the surge of petitions that were filed, USCIS conducted a lottery (technically referred as "random selection process") on April 10, 2014, to determine which petitions received in the five-day submission period, the minimum time USCIS can accept petitions, will actually be considered. USCIS will soon start sending receipt notices for the petitions selected in the random selection process.
Update (6:45 PM): AILA Liaison has been informed that due to the reported courier delivery problems with FY2015 H-1B petitions, USCIS will accept a second H-1B petition in certain limited circumstances. Specifically, for cap-subject petitions that were timely filed, if, upon inquiry, the carrier indicates that there may be a delivery delay or the package has been damaged, the petitioner may file a second H-1B petition with:
Recently, an association of high-tech companies advocating for reform of immigration policies affecting higher-skilled workers, launched a report estimating the numbers of American jobs that are lost due to the lack of H-1B visas. The report estimates that 500,000 new U.S. jobs could have been created this year absent outdated restrictions on H-1B visas. From another perspective, the 2.37 million new payroll jobs created in 2013 might have been increased by 21 percent under a different H-1B scheme.
Many F-1 visa holders, particularly those who are engaged in OPT, often change their immigration status to become professional specialty workers (H-1B workers). The H-1B cap is the Congressionally-mandated limit on the number of individuals who may be granted H-1B status during each fiscal year. Most foreign nationals seeking H-1B nonimmigrant classification are subject to the 58,200 cap[i]. There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas, which are restricted to individuals who receive a master's degrees (or higher degree) from a United States college or university[ii].
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked.
The use of the term "lottery" is very deceptive in the context of a discussion about the H-1B professional and specialty occupation work visa. We often receive inquiries from potential H-1B beneficiaries who contact our offices asking us: "Where should I buy my H-1B Visa 2015 lottery ticket?" or "I want to get myself into the 2015 H-1B Visa lottery - How do I do that?" Reference to the "H-1B Lottery" is really a bit of a misnomer . . .
The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. All H-1B nonimmigrants are not subject to this cap. Up to 6,800 visas are set aside from those 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program specifically designed for the citizens of Chile and Singapore. Unused numbers in the H-1B1 pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year. Thus, in effect, only 58,200 H-1Bs visas are granted each year, except 20,000 additional H-1B visas which are restricted to individuals who have received master's degrees or higher from U.S. colleges or universities.
Most of the prospective H-1B employees and H-1B employers begin with either of the following two thoughts: "I would like to work in the U.S. using an H-1B visa, but am not sure if I qualify" or "I want to hire a foreign worker but not sure if the individual qualifies for an H-1B visa."
Every year at about this time, U.S. Employers approach the Immigration and Nationality Lawyers and Immigration Attorneys at the NPZ Law Group often asking us for the reasons why they should consider doing the H-1B visa. Here are the TOP TEN REASONS we give to them. David Letterman, eat your heart out . . .