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233,000 H-1B Petitions Filed under Cap for Fiscal Year 2016!

U.S. employers of all sizes use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in professional level occupations that require specialized knowledge in their field.

Many years ago, the U.S. Congress set a limit or “cap” of 65,000 H-1B visas for each fiscal year (FY). An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available for foreign workers in a specialty occupation who hold a U.S. Master’s Degree in their field.

An H-1B petition that is subject to the annual cap may be filed six months in advance of the commencement of the next fiscal year (October 1). Every year, U.S. businesses engage in a rush to file H-1B petitions for university-educated foreign professionals in order to secure an adequate workforce and remain competitive in the global economy by April 1. In recent years, the annual allotment of 85,000 H-1B visas has been exhausted in the first days of April.

It was no surprise when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last week that it received a sufficient number of H-1B visa petitions to meet both the 65,000 cap and 20,000 cap for foreign workers with a U.S. Master’s Degree. Today, April 13, 2015, USCIS announced that it had received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions for FY 2016. This is a 35% increase from last year.

All 233,000 H-1B petitions filed during the first week of filing will now be sorted and subject to a computer generated lottery. This lottery will first randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet 20,000 Master’s cap. All petitions rejected under the Master’s cap will be included in the lottery for the remaining 65,000 H-1B visas.

USCIS will reject the petitions that are not selected in the lottery and return the filing fees to the Petitioner.

USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions that are exempt from the annual cap. This includes petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been previously counted against the cap.

For more information about the H-1B program, please contact Kolko & Associates, P.C. at 303-371-1822.

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Kolko & Casey, P.C. is a full service immigration and naturalization law firm providing professional legal services to individuals and businesses throughout Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West, the United States, and the World. Our professional staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese and we can arrange for translators in any other language.