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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that data entry of all FY15 H-1B cap petitions has been completed. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap petitions that were not selected in the lottery.

Receipt notices for premium processing cases should have been received by this date. As data entry was just completed today, we expect a few more receipts could show up over the next week.

As soon as we have either a receipt notice or a returned H-1B cap petition, we will advise clients immediately.

As we alerted clients in an earlier Immigration Advisory, USCIS announced on April 7, 2014 that it had received enough H-1B petitions to meet the cap for fiscal year 2015 (which is the period October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015). USCIS announced that it received approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period April 1 – April 7, 2014, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit.

We will inform clients as soon as we know whether any H-1B petitions filed are assigned one of the available numbers. In the meantime, it is important to remember that the cap only applies to new H-1B cases and not to extensions of H-1B status or a transfer of an H-1B visa from one employer to another. The cap does, however, affect those foreign nationals who are in H-1B status seeking to work for new employers, but who are currently exempt from the H-1B cap based on employment with a university or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity or employment with a nonprofit or governmental research organization.

Employers should contact any of our immigration attorneys with questions or concerns about how these numbers might impact upon the hiring of foreign nationals. Although new cap-subject H-1B visas are no longer available until October 1, 2015, there may be alternative visa options for a particular candidate that we can assist you with.