April 12, 2018
USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019
USCIS announced today that it received 190,098 cap-subject H-1B petitions during the filing period from April 2-6, 2018. On April 11, 2018, USCIS conducted a random, computer-generated, lottery selection process, to choose the 65,000 regular cap petitions and the 20,000 “master’s cap” petitions that will be adjudicated. The “master’s cap” is made up of petitions for beneficiaries who earned an advanced degree from a U.S. university. USCIS received more than 20,000 applications for the master’s cap, and so the master’s cap lottery was conducted first. Any petitions not selected in the master’s cap lottery were then included in the regular cap lottery.
USCIS did not release information on the number of master’s cap eligible petitions received. We can estimate that, excluding the 20,000 petitions that were selected for the master’s cap, 170,098 petitions were included in the random selection process for one of the 65,000 regular cap slots. If your petition was counted toward the FY19 regular cap, it had about a 38% chance of having been selected. Any petitions that were not selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees. It will likely be several weeks before we will begin to receive rejected cases. For those cases selected in the lottery, receipt notices will begin to arrive in the coming weeks. The “normal” processing time for H-1B petitions varies greatly between service centers and can take as long as seven months.
USCIS’s premium processing service is currently suspended for H-1B cap-subject petitions and is expected to resume in September. We will provide an alert to our clients when premium processing resumes for H-1B cap-subject petitions.
Cap Statistics and Taking Action
This is the fifth year in a row that the H-1B cap has been met and exceeded in the first week that filings are accepted. Last year, USCIS received about 199,000 cap-subject cases and the odds of having a petition selected in the regular lottery were 34%. The continued exhaustion of H-1B cap visas in the first week of filing is representative of U.S. employers’ desire to retain talented foreign employees. The arbitrary limit of 65,000 H-1B positions for the entire nation is a reflection of our broken immigration system.
We encourage you to reach out to your representatives in Congress and demand comprehensive immigration reform that includes an increase in the number of H-1B visas, or a removal of the cap entirely. Here are links to assist you in locating your congressional representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and your senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.