In 2013, USCIS met and exceeded these numbers. USCIS received over 124,000 H-1B petitions during the first five business days beginning April 1, 2013.
Last year, USCIS also met and exceeded these numbers. USCIS received over 172,500 cap-subject petitions during the first five business days beginning April 1, 2014.
We expect that both the general and the master’s H-1B caps for the 2016 federal fiscal year (FY2016) will be reached on the first day of H-1B petition filings – April 1, 2015.
We expect USCIS to receive a similar, if not higher, number of H-1B petitions this year, which will again far exceed the annual quota of 65,000 “regular” cap petitions and 20,000 advanced degree cap petitions. If the number exceeds the allotted annual quota, USCIS holds a “lottery” and randomly selects cases for processing. USCIS will reject cases that are not timely submitted and not picked in the lottery. This year, we are expecting USCIS to hold a lottery.
Because of the stringency in both the allotted numbers and the timing of the process, it is imperative that USCIS receives your H-1B petition on April 1st. Plan ahead. Just because a particular petition gets selected in the lottery, does not mean that petition will be approved. It takes time to compile the materials accompanying a successful petition. If you are an employer, and you have employees who may be eligible to file an H-1B petition or who will need to change their current status to H-1B, we strongly suggest starting the process now with an experienced attorney.