The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced April 7 that the H-1B cap has been reached for fiscal year 2017. Although USCIS did not indicate how many H-1B petitions it had received, the number exceeds the total 85,000 available H-1B visas slots (65,000 regular H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for those with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher).
As in years past, because the demand again exceeds the supply for available H-1B visas, all cap-subject H-1B applications received in the first five (5) business days of April will be included in a lottery to determine which ones are rejected and which ones will be considered for adjudication. Employers and prospective H-1B employees will likely have to wait until the end of April 2016 (if the H-1B was filed with premium processing service) and possibly even the end of May (if the H-1B was filed with regular processing service) to find out if their H-1B was selected in the lottery.
In the meantime, employers and prospective employees are encouraged to consider other options in lieu of an H-1B, especially in light of the small percentage of total applications that can legally be selected. The following is a list of several alternatives to the H-1B:
We encourage all employers filing cap-subject H-1Bs and all prospective H-1B employees to prepare for the possibility of having their H-1Bs rejected and to have an alternative plan in place in such an event. Please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. to discuss alternatives to the H-1B.
The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
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