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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced this week that the 15-day processing time for petitions subject to the fiscal year 2008 H-1B cap will begin after USCIS' random lottery procedure has selected the petitions for processing. As we previously reported, USCIS announced that it had received enough H-1B petitions to meet the 65,000 cap for fiscal year 2008. USCIS is now reporting that it received 133,000 pieces of mail containing H-1B petitions on April 2 and April 3, 2007. As of April 9, it appears that 119,193 of the H-1B petitions received are subject to the H-1B cap and 12,989 H-1B petitions have been received on behalf of aliens holding a master's degree or higher from a U.S. college or university. USCIS has announced that the cap of 20,000 on these exempt cases remains open for now.   

If you are considering the hiring of a foreign worker with a U.S. advanced degree who will need H-1B sponsorship, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so that we can file right away. Please remember that the cap only applies to new H-1B cases, and not to extensions of an H-1B visa or a transfer of an H-1B visa 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.