On April 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced that it had received sufficient H-1B petitions to reach the annual quota for fiscal 2014. As most H-1B employers know, the quota is 65,000 for regular H-1B petitions, plus another 20,000 for H-1B petitions filed for foreign nationals ("FNs") who have obtained a master's (or higher) degree from an accredited American university. According to the USCIS, it received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the initial, one-week filing period. The USCIS then used a computer-generated random selection process ("lottery") to choose a sufficient number of petitions necessary to reach the applicable caps. The USCIS will issue receipts for those cases and then proceed to adjudicate them. In addition, the USCIS will return those petitions not selected by the lottery.
Under the "Gang of 8" proposal, the quota for new H-1B petitions would be raised this year from 65,000 to 110,000, and the advanced degree quota would be raised from 20,000 to 25,000. In future years, the quota for new H-1B petitions could be raised to 180,000 based on a statutory formula, but it could not be increased/decreased by more than 10,000 from year to year. At the same time, employers seeking H-1B employees would be required to pay significantly higher wages and to recruit American workers through a U.S. Labor Department ("DOL") website before they could file any new H-1B petitions.