The H-1B quota for fiscal year 2015 (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015) will open on April 1, 2014. Similar to the last H-1B quota, our firm is anticipating that the H-1B quota for fiscal year 2015 will be met during the initial filing period of April 1, 2014 through April 7, 2014. When the H-1B quota is met, employers will not be able to file additional H-1B quota subject petitions until the next H-1B quota becomes available on April 1, 2015 (for H-1B employment beginning on or after October 1, 2015.
The number of H-1B quota visas remains the same as in previous years, 65,000 for the regular H-1B quota with an extra 20,000 numbers available for individuals who have earned U.S. Master's or higher degrees. During the last H-1B quota period, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 124,000 petitions. It is assumed that the number of petitions received by the USCIS in this upcoming H-1B quota will be significantly higher. In fiscal year 2009, the USCIS received more than 165,000 petitions filed against the H-1B quota. It is assumed that the USCIS may receive a comparable number of petitions in the upcoming H-1B quota as it received in fiscal year 2009. If the USCIS receives more petitions than H-1B quota numbers available, the USCIS will conduct a random selection process of the petitions received. The first random selection process will be conducted for the petitions received claiming the exemption under the U.S. Master's or higher degree. The petitions not selected in this random selection process will then be added to the regular H-1B quota petitions and the USCIS will then conduct another random selection process. If the petition is selected in either of the random selection processes, the USCIS will then adjudicate those petitions. If the petition is not selected in either of the random selection processes, the petition will be returned to the employer (or its representative) without adjudication. No special preferences are given in the random selection process for types of positions, countries of birth, educational background, etc. If a petition is received after the H-1B quota is met, the petition will also be returned to the employer without being adjudicated. Therefore, employers should currently be preparing their H-1B quota petitions so that they can be filed during the upcoming H-1B quota initial filing period. Please note that as part of the H-1B process, the employer (or its representative) must first obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL may take 7+ plus days to adjudicate the LCA, assuming that the DOL's iCERT system continues to function properly.