On 7 April 2015, the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) has announced that it has received adequate H-1B visa applications to reach the legal cap of 65,000 visas for FY (fiscal year) 2016.
Under the advanced degree exemption, which is also named as master’s cap, USCIS has received more applications i.e. over 20,000 –the cap of H-1B visa petitions.
Effective 1 April 2015, USCIS received almost 233,000 H-1B petitions subsuming applications filed for the higher degree exemption. On 13 April 2015, USCIS used an electronic random selection process, or lottery, to pick enough H1-B visa petitions to meet the general category cap of 65,000 and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.
Unselected petitions will be returned by USCIS along with the filing fee unless the application is found to be a duplicate.
Initially, the selection process would be conducted for the higher degree exemption. All the unselected visa petitions under Advanced degree have then become part of the random selection process for the cap of 65,000.
As declared, USCIS would start premium processing for H-1B visa cap cases on or before 11 May 2015.
The USCIS continues to intake and process petitions that are otherwise excluded from the cap. Applications filed for existing H-1B visa employees who have been calculated beforehand against the limit will also not be calculated towards the congressionally authorized FY 2016 H-1B cap. USCIS continues to intake and process petitions filed to:
- Increase the amount of time an existing H-1B employee can reside in the US
- Alter the terms of employment for existing H-1B workers;
- Enable existing H-1B workers to change their employers; and
- Enable existing H-1B workers to work alongside in a second H-1B position
The businesses in US utilize the H-1B visa program to employ overseas employees in occupations that need extremely specialized knowledge in sectors such as engineering, computer programming, and science.