USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

21:19 18 April in News Updates

USCIS issued the following Press Release: 

USCIS announced that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.

As announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for up to six months.

What this means: 

Cases selected in the lottery:

USCIS has started issuing receipt notices for cases selected in the lottery and will continue to mail receipts in the weeks to come.  LAC will notify the employer and employee when a Receipt Notice is issued for a specific case.  We will then forward the receipt notice for any petitions selected in the lottery to the employee (via the employer).  

Cases not selected in the lottery:

Once all receipt notices have been issued during the next month or two, USCIS will return H-1B petitions that are not selected in the lottery to counsel with the government filing fees.  We will notify impacted clients upon receipt of the returned petitions, and promptly refund the USCIS filing fees to the employer. 

LAC understands that waiting for news on lottery selection causes a great deal of anxiety for foreign national employees, and is also very frustrating for employers trying to plan staffing, workload and resources.
To address the most common questions:

Q:  If I haven’t heard that a receipt notice has been issued for my petition yet, does that mean my case has not been selected in the lottery? 

A:  Given that the data entry of cases selected in the lottery has just been completed, it is very possible that we will continue to receive receipt notices for selected cases for the next several weeks or longer. We cannot be sure that a case was NOT selected unless/ until we receive the returned petition from USCIS.  USCIS will issue another press release when it has returned all petitions. 

Q:  What are the alternatives for remaining lawfully in the U.S. and obtaining work authorization if a case is not selected in the lottery? 

A:  The answer in every case may be different.  Your LAC attorney will be available to review each case and advise of options for those not selected in the lottery.

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