U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has reached the 2017 H-1B cap, and will no longer be accepting H-1B cap cases under this year’s cap. USCIS has yet to provide the number of petitions received for this year’s caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption. However, we anticipate the numbers to be even higher for FY2017 than the 233,000 H-1B petitions filed in the 2016 cap. This means a greater number of employers and individuals will be looking to alternative visa options when they leave H-1B cap season empty handed.
USCIS has further announced that it will conduct a computer-generated random selection process (also known as the “Lottery’), first on petitions filed under the 20,000 U.S. Master’s Degree exemption and then on cases filed under the 65,000 regular category, to select a sufficient number of petitions for the cap. USCIS has yet to announce when they will begin this selection process. From past experience, we expect the process to occur immediately and notices of acceptance will start to be sent out to employers and their representatives in the next 5‑10 days. We expect rejected cases that do not make this year’s H-1B cap to be returned to employer representatives in the next 3-6 weeks.
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