USCIS has announced that it received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period for FY2017, which began on April 1, 2016, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. Earlier we anticipated that the numbers would be even higher for FY2017 than the 233,000 H-1B petitions filed in the 2016 cap. While the increased number of filings indicates the US economy is improving, it also confirms there will be high casualties as in prior years. Per the regulations, USCIS conducted its random lottery for H-1B cap-subject petitions that would be selected for processing on April 9, 2016. USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases now. Employers with cap-subject petitions that were selected for adjudication will receive in the near future the H-1B receipt notice on Form I-797C. USCIS also will begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the lottery. USCIS will release an announcement once all the petitions have been returned.

We recommend employers assess alternative options while waiting to see whether a particular case was accepted/rejected for processing by USCIS.