U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on April 5 that it has reached the H-1B cap for FY 2014 in the first five days of possible filings. As of the time of the announcement, USCIS was continuing to accept petitions and could not provide a count of the total number of petitions received. When the cap is reached, USCIS is obligated to place all of the filings received in the first five days available for filing into a computer-generated random selection process which will choose the number of petitions necessary to fill the caps.
There are two separate cap categories for H-1B filings: 65,000 slots are available for persons with a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and an additional 20,000 petitions for persons with an advanced degree from a U.S. institution that are exempted from the cap. These categories are treated differently in the lotteries.
USCIS will conduct the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will then also be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. Petitions not selected under either category will be rejected. These beneficiaries need to leave the U.S. at the end of their current period of work authorization or find another legal basis allowing them to remain and work in the U.S.
Chris Bauer, Manager of Immigration Services, reminds members that USCIS will continue to accept and process H-1B petitions that are not subject to the H-1B cap. This includes extensions and transfers, and also petitions from cap-exempt employers such as institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations, and governmental research organizations.
She encourages members with questions about the work status of their employees to contact one of the immigration attorneys at MSEC. Bauer can be reached at 1-800-884-1328.