In a surprise to no-one, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap of 85,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017.
As in the last few years, USCIS will use a computer-generated process (H-1B lottery) to randomly select H-1B petition “winners”. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions.
USCIS’ press release indicates that it cannot yet determine when it will conduct the random selection process. USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing no later than May 11, 2015.
International workers who are working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as “H-1B transfer” cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year.
Likewise, H-1B extensions and amendments are also not subject to the H-1B cap. MU Law recently posted a blog on alternatives to the H-1B cap, which you can access here.