H-1B visa cap reached in 7 days, the same as last year

Economy may be on the mend with visas gobbled up in record time.

By Raif Karerat

WASHINGTON, DC: A historical analysis of H-1B visa petitions indicate the United States’ economy may finally be on the mend after the most recent recession ravaged the financial landscape.

The final receipt date for new H-1B special occupation visas has been drastically cut short year after year from 2008 to the present, meaning applicants are eager to launch careers in the United States again.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for the first time since 2008, USCIS reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2015 within the first week of the filing period when it was instituted last year.

For the 2010 fiscal year, USCIS set the final receipt date on Dec. 21, 2009. The next year’s cutoff coincided with a particularly hard recession year and extended all the way into January, finally arriving on the 26th. Fiscal year 2012’s final date was November 22, 2011, while fiscal year 2013’s final date optimistically shortened the window June 7, 2012. After 2014 saw the cap reached in five days, fiscal year 2015’s applications took just seven days, reaching capacity on April 7, 2014.

On Tuesday, USCIS announced the 65,000 H1-B cap for fiscal year 2016 replicated last year’s feat, reaching the cap in seven days.

USCIS, which started receiving the petitions on April 1, will now use a lottery system to select the 65,000 visas under the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption.

According to the agency, it will select petitions under the advanced degree exemptions first, while all candidates who are not selected will be considered for lottery under the general category. Those who remain unselected will have their filing fees returned.

USCIS said due to “the high number of petitions,” it is “not yet able to announce” the lottery date.

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