As anticipated, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced late Tuesday afternoon that it had received enough H-1B petitions to meet the 65,000 cap for fiscal year 2008 — a fiscal year that does not even start until October 1, 2007. As of late afternoon on Monday, April 2, 2007, 150,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions had been received by USCIS. A random selection process will be used to determine which petitions will be adjudicated. USCIS has indicated that all cap-subject filings received on April 2, 2007, and April 3, 2007, will be subject to random selection, and any petitions not selected will be returned along with the appropriate filing fees. USCIS will reject all cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY2008 received on or after Wednesday, April 4, 2007.
USCIS must now perform data entry for all filings received before it can begin the selection process. The service has indicated that this could delay the lottery for several weeks. It is unclear how the delay will affect cases filed using the USCIS Premium Processing service.
An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are reserved for foreign nationals who possess an advanced degree from a United States college or university. USCIS does not yet know how many of the 150,000 petitions it has received are for U.S. advanced degree cases, as those petitions are mixed in with the rest of the cap-subject cases received on April 2 and 3.
We will let clients know as soon as we know whether any H-1B petitions filed are assigned one of the available numbers.
Please remember that the cap only applies to new H-1B cases, and not to extensions of H-1B visas or a transfers of H-1B visas from one employer to another.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about how these numbers might affect the hiring of foreign nationals.