U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced
on April 7, 2016, that it has received enough H-1B petitions to
reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017.
USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B
petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, also known as
the master's cap.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers
in occupations that require at least a bachelor's degree or
Process for FY 2017: On April 12, 2016, USCIS
announced that they received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the
filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for
the advanced degree exemption. The number of petitions filed this
year is 3,000 higher than the record breaking filings for FY 2016.
On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection
process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000
general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree
exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions
with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a
duplicate filing. The agency conducted the selection process for
the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree
petitions then became part of the random selection process for the
Premium Processing: USCIS announced on March
16, 2016 that they will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases
no later than May 16, 2016. For H-1B petitions not subject to
the cap and for any other visa classification, the 15-day
processing period for premium processing service begins on the date
USCIS receives the request.
Cap Exempt Petitions: USCIS will continue to
accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the
cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have
been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted
towards the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will
continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current
H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
- Change the terms of employment for
current H-1B workers;
- Allow current H-1B workers to change
- Allow current H-1B workers to work
concurrently in a second H-1B position. U.S. businesses use the
H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require
highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science,
engineering, and computer programming.
The USCIS announcement about the H-1B cap being reached is
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