WASHINGTON U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that in just five (5) days, it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption. Release Date: April 07, 2014
The number of H-1B visa applications has risen steadily each year. The total number of petitions filed for FY 2014 was about 125,000 and for FY 2015, there were about 172,500 petitions filed with the USCIS. Many U.S. businesses use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge. For the best reasons to hire a foreign worker, see Top 5 Reasons You Should Hire A Non-US Worker.
Each year, a USCIS computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps. The USCIS conducts the selection process for the advanced degree exemptions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. By May 5th, 2014, the USCIS announced that data entry of all FY 2015 H-1B cap petitions had been completed and they began returning all H-1B cap filing fees and petitions that were not selected in the lottery. The USCIS made these announcements on their Twitter and Facebook pages.
The USCIS will continue to accept applications for FY 2015 for extending the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States, changing the terms of employment for current H-1B workers allowing current H-1B workers to change employers, and allowing current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position. Although there have been talks about raising the caps, there are no immediate plans in place. So the early bird gets the worm in this race for valuable visas. Here are some steps to ensure proper filing for next year's open application period.
- Complete all sections of the Form I-129 petition, including the H Classification Supplement (pages 11 and 12 of the form) and the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (pages 17-19).
- Make sure each form has an original signature, preferably in black ink.
- Include a signed check or money order with the correct fee amount.
- Submit all required documentation and evidence with the petition at the time of filing to ensure timely processing.
- Be sure to file the petition with the correct USCIS service center beginning on the first date of the open application period announced on the USCIS website, or social media sites.
If you have questions about the H1-B Cap in 2014, or moving forward, please contact Bridge US - we are happy to help.