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On April 7, 2016, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received sufficient quota-subject H-1B filings for government fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017) to meet the following:

  • The general H-1B quota (65,000) for individuals holding a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • The additional quota (20,000) for individuals holding a U.S. master’s or other advanced degree

H-1B lottery for 2017

Since USCIS has already received more than 65,000 petitions and more than 20,000 “advanced degree” exemption petitions, it will run a “lottery” to determine which should proceed for full review and adjudication.

The lottery is a computer-generated random selection process of all H-1B petitions received during the April 1-7 filing period. The petitions selected by lottery will continue for full adjudication.

The first lottery will be run on "advanced degree" exemption petitions. All "advanced degree" petitions not selected as part of the initial quota will then be placed into the lottery for the 65,000 general category. All petitions not selected in the lottery will be returned to the attorney or petitioner.

New H-1B workers will only be eligible to begin employment on October 1, 2016, with some limited exceptions – such as students eligible to extend their stay in the U.S. and continued work authorization under Optional Practical Training (OPT) and a “cap gap” exception.

Exemptions

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted towards the fiscal year 2017 H-1B cap.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions submitted to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart: ltaggart@crownww.com.

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