The USCIS has begun processing the 124,000 timely-field H-1B cap-subject petitions. Because the H-1B category was oversubscribed, the USCIS will be returning approximately 15,000-20,000 H-1B petitions, after accounting for improperly filed and/or denied H-1B petitions.
Between April 1-5 the USCIS registered each timely-field H-1B case into their system. Each timely-filed H-1B cap-subject petition was given a filing number. Once all 124,000 petitions were registered into the system, the USCIS randomly chose 85,000 winning petitions. This “H-1B lottery” was held about 10 days ago.
The USCIS now has started processing winning premium processing petitions. Contrary to incorrect internet rumors, this does not mean that premium processing petitions were given any benefit in the lottery. The USCIS has confirmed on multiple occasions that non-premium petitions had the exact same chance of winning the H-1B lottery.
Processing of winning petitions consists of confirming proper filing fee payment and data entry of H-1B petitions onto USCIS internal computer system. Once the H-1B petition is processed, Premium Processing adjudicators begin to assess the approvability of the petition.
MU Law has had several H-1B premium processing petitions already approved. We have also received a few premium processing RFEs.
Data entry of non-premium processing petitions will not be complete until at least May and perhaps June. Rejection notices for petitions not selected in the lottery will be sent out after the data entry for winning petitions has been completed. AILA points out that when the cap was reached on the first day in 2008, USCIS did not complete data entry and issue receipt notices until late in May 2008.