April 3, 2007
USCIS announced today that it received approximately 150,000 cap-subject H-1B cases against the congressionally mandated cap of 65,000 H-1Bs for FY 2008. Therefore, it must now go through a "lottery" process to randomly select which cases will actually be accepted for processing. In accordance with regulations, the random selection process will include cases received on April 2nd and April 3rd, even though USCIS received enough cases to reach the cap on April 2nd. Given the volume of filings received, USCIS expects the random selection process to take "several weeks."
USCIS is unable at this time to determine how many petitions were filed against the additional 20,000 H-1Bs reserved for beneficiaries who hold a US Master's or Ph.D. degree. It is entirely possible that the US Master's or Ph.D. degree cap has yet to be reached since the source for these candidates (i.e., US universities) does not materially change from year to year. Therefore, as the receipt cut-off date has yet to be assessed for this category, employers should continue filing these as needed, and clearly note on the petition that the case involves a US Master's or Ph.D. degree holder.
As for cap-subject cases filed by Immigration Law Group, we are pleased to confirm that we successfully submitted all petitions identified ahead of time by our clients. Nearly all petitions were shipped via FedEx on March 30th, and we have confirmed that all petitions filed by the firm were successfully delivered to USCIS. Our office will contact all clients as soon as we receive receipt notices, or notification that the petition was not randomly selected. Although our office has already received email receipts from USCIS for Premium Processing H-1B petitions, USCIS will inevitably need to cancel the receipt and case number for such petitions until it confirms which petitions have been selected through the random selection process.
For petitions that ultimately are not selected by the random selection process, USCIS will return the petition along with all support documents and USCIS filing fees. Should Congress pass legislation to increase the H-1B cap, a subject already being discussed before the cap was reached, these petitions may be resubmitted.
One favorable outcome of this year's H-1B cap situation may be that it will serve as the final impetus for Congress to recognize the need for H-1B cap relief, and increase the cap irrespective of whether comprehensive immigration reform passes.