On April 7, 2014, USCIS announced that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015 beginning on October 1, 2014. On April 10, 2014, USCIS announced that it had received 172,500 petitions. USCIS has not announced the date on which it will conduct the random selection process. A random computer selection process will be run to select which of the received petitions will be considered to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. Petitions that are not selected will be rejected and the filing fees returned.
For the second year in a row, USCIS has reached the H-1B cap during the first five days of filing. This recalls the situation that existed in 2007 and 2008, before the recession, when caps were met during the earliest possible filing period, indicating the demand for H-1B workers fluctuates with the economy.
Having to rely on a lottery system to obtain the employees that they need is not good for US employers. The Senate’s comprehensive reform bill includes provisions that would raise the number of H-1B visas to between 115,000 to 180,000 per year, depending on economic factors. The House has not yet passed any bill expanding the availability of H-1B visas. Compete America, a tech industry lobby group, has encouraged the House to pass the Skills Act, a standalone H-1B bill.