USCIS used computer-generated random selection process to select cap-subject H-1B petitions since it received more petitions than the H-1B numerical cap for the FY 2014
April 8, 2013, WASHINGTON— For the first time since 2008, USCIS reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period. USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with the filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing. The agency conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. Additionally, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized data entry of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases on April 15, 2013. Because of this change, the fifteen days premium processing timeline will kick in only on April 15, 2013.
Since the accepted cap-subject petitions were selected randomly, it is unpredictable to ascertain whether a petition was accepted for the quota. Because of the lottery process and the time required to enter the data about the H-1B petitions, it is expected to take a couple more days or even a few weeks to receive the actual receipt notice from USCIS.
Newsletter Vol. XXIII, no. 04, March 14, 2013, Issue No. 1
1. Sequestration May Affect USCIS and Department of Labor Processing Times
The “sequester” or “sequestration” refers to budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending that took effect March 1, 2013. The cuts were established by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The area of federal spending most affected by sequestration is called discretionary spending, which includes defense and non-defense elements. Discretionary spending represented approximately 36% of federal outlays in 2012. The Washington Post article explained the possible effects sequestration may have on immigration system.
We expect that the actual effects of sequestration may be less severe that it has been previously discussed publicly. However, it is important to keep in mind that there could be possible delays in all immigration processing due to sequestration.
Vol. XXIII, no.03, February 15, 2013, Issue no 1
1. In his his first State of the Union address after re-election President Obama
called on Congress to send him a comprehensive immigration reform bill “in the next few months”
Picture: U.S. House of Representiative
February 13, 2013: At the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner, President Barack Obama delivered the 92nd State of the Union Address at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. In addition to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, attendees included the President’s Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief Justice and Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.
In this first State of the Union address after his re-election, President Obama called on Congress to send him an immigration reform bill “in the next few months”. “We know what needs to be done”, President Obama said in his address. He applauded the efforts of bipartisan groups in both chambers of Congress to draft a comprehensive immigration bill. “Now let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration bill in the next few months and I will sign it right away”, President Obama said. The Obama administration has devoted increased attention to immigration reform in his second term in office. Last month in Las Vegas, President Obama spoke about creating a fair and effective immigration system.
“Leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities, they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform”, he said in his address. President Obama said, “Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship, a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally”. He further explained, “And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy”.
President Obama’s proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers. Please see The fact sheet about President Obama’s proposals. For more information, see here
There is a high likelihood that the FY 2014 H-1B quota might be reached much earlier than last year. It should be noted that in the past the numerical quota was reached in a short period of time, sometimes within a week.
Therefore, it is better to plan everything in advance so that all H-1B petition will be filed in a timely manner.
Most importantly, USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions that are not subject to annual numerical limitations, (e.g. H-1B amended petitions, H-1B extensions for individuals who have already been counted against the cap within the last six years, etc.), DOD petitions and Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2014.
Please note the following tips to ensure that your petition is filed timely:
– Get all supporting documents ready (letters of support, end-client letter, necessary fees, etc.).
– Before filing the H-B petition the employer has to receive a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). It typically takes about seven business days for the DOL to certify an LCA, so the LCA should also be filed as soon as possible.
– Evidence of Beneficiary’s Educational Qualifications:
- A copy of beneficiary’s final transcripts.
- Petition has to include evidence of the beneficiary’s educational degree at the time of filing. If all of the requirements for the degree have been met, but the degree has not yet been awarded, the following alternate evidence may be submitted:
- A copy of the beneficiary’s transcript and a letter from the Registrar confirming that all of the degree requirements have been met (if the educational institution does not have a Registrar, such letter must be signed by the person in charge of the educational records where the degree will be awarded).
- If you are indicating that the beneficiary is qualified based on a combination of education and experience, we would have to include substantiating evidence to show that.
- If the beneficiary has a foreign academic degree and professional experience letters then we may need to obtain a credential evaluation, a process that can also take a few days.