On April 7, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it had reached the H-1B cap for Fiscal Year 2017. Accordingly, USCIS will no longer accept cap-subject H-1B petitions.
USCIS shall conduct a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select petitions received under the 20,000 advanced degree exemption (“master’s cap”) and the 65,000 general categories (“regular cap”).
The first lottery will select petitions for the master’s cap. Petitions not selected under the master’s cap in the first lottery will be included in a second lottery with regular cap petitions. Once both lotteries have been conducted, USCIS will notify employers if their petitions were selected for processing. All petitions not selected for processing shall be returned with filing fees to employers by USCIS.
If an employer is unsuccessful in the lottery, visa alternatives may be available to enable retention of a foreign national.