USCIS uses lottery system to select petitions.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it has reached the cap of 65,000 regular H-1B visas and 20,000 for the US advanced degree exemption. The caps are mandated by the US Congress.
The caps for the fiscal year 2018 have been filled just four days after USCIS started accepting applications on April 3.
The agency has also announced that it will reject and return the filing fee for all applicants whose petitions were not selected, the only exception being duplicate filings.
The USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. It has to be noted that the agency had suspended premium processing of H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for a period of six months.
According to a USCIS press release, “petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap.”
The USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
- Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
The H-1B program allows US companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in jobs that require highly specialized knowledge. USCIS mandates H-1B applicants to have bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty or its equivalent.