USCIS has announced that all H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions selected in the H-1B lottery have officially been data-entered for the 2015 Fiscal Year.  While Receipt Notices for these data-entered petitions likely will be sent in the next few weeks, unselected petitions are now in the process of being returned to the Petitioner or attorney of record.

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that are considered “professional” in nature.  These includes engineers, scientists, and computer programmers, among many others.  The program is subject to an annual cap on the number of H-1B visas that can be issued – 65,000 visas for general petitions with a 20,000 advanced degree exemption.

Where more petitions are filed under the annual cap than eligible visas, USCIS conducts a lottery to determine which petitions are accepted. The filing window for the FY2015 H-1B cap opened on April 1, 2014, and USCIS confirmed on April 7 that the H-1B cap had been reached.  USCIS received 172,500 H-1B Petitions in the first five business days of filing eligibility.

Employers whose petitions were not selected under the cap will need to quickly start exploring alternative visa strategies for their effected foreign national employees.  Our immigration attorneys will work closely with affected employers to help obtain and retain work authorization for employees negatively affected by the H-1B cap limitations.  Contact your Jackson Lewis attorney for any questions regarding the H-1B cap, lottery selection process, and alternative visa options for your company and its employees.