H-1B Applications Exceed 236,000; USCIS Uses Lottery to Select Applications

Summary

In the first week of the April filing period, over 236,000 H-1B applications were submitted to USCIS, the highest number of applications ever submitted for one fiscal period. Because the quota of 85,000 was greatly exceeded, selection for H-1B visas was conducted via random selection, commonly known as the lottery. Applications that are not selected will be sent back, along with filing fees, to employers. USCIS will continue to accept cap-exempt applications.

April 15, 2016


The H-1B visa selection lottery has officially come to an end. New statistics confirm the trend of increasing demand for the H-1B visa year-over-year. In the first week of the April filing period, over 236,000 H-1B applications were submitted to USCIS, the highest number of applications ever submitted for one fiscal period. There is no information available on how many Master’s applications were submitted.

While it’s true that this year’s number of submitted applications was the most ever, it only exceeded last year’s total by 3,000. There is speculation that the rising cost of application fees for some applicants may have played a role in this. A new rule issued in December 2015 requires employers with at least 50 employees, 50% or more of whom are H-1B holders, pay an extra $4,000 per H-1B application. Furthermore, frustration with the lottery system may have caused previous applicants who were not selected to pursue other opportunities in the U.S. or abroad.

Because the quota of 85,000 was greatly exceeded, selection for H-1B visas was conducted via random selection, commonly known as the lottery. The lottery first selects 20,000 Master’s degree petitions. After this, the balance of Master’s applications are added to the remaining applications. From there, 65,000 applications are selected to be reviewed for an H-1B visa. Applications that are not selected will be sent back, along with filing fees, to employers.

Those who submitted applications for premium processing and were selected in the lottery will be notified of their H-1B adjudication towards the end of May. Due to the high amount of petitions submitted, processing times have been pushed back substantially.

It should be clear that USCIS will continue to accept cap-exempt H-1B applications all year. Cap-exempt applications include those for work at institutions of higher education and select nonprofit or government organizations.

Those who have submitted applications for an H-1B visa should understand that it is important to stay patient and remained focused on current obligations. The FY2017 season will be here soon!

Source: Redbus2US - Kumar