For the first time after 2008,a computerised draw of lots is going to decide on successful H-1B applicants,as a federal US agency has announced that it has received more petitions than the Congressional mandated quota on the most sought after work visas for IT professionals.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday announced that it would no longer accept applications for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014
beginning October 1,2013,the Congressional mandated cap for which is 65,000 as it has received sufficient applications for this.
USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions
filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the
advanced degree exemption.
“USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection
process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014
cap-subject petitions received through April 5,2013,” the
“The agency will conduct the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first.
All advanced degree petitions not selected will be part of
the random selection process for the 65,000 limit,” said USCIS which started accepting the applications on Monday.
Due to the high number of petitions received,USCIS is not
yet able to announce the exact day of the random selection process.
Also,USCIS also did not provide the total number of
petitions received,noting that it continued to accept filings
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that
are otherwise exempt from the cap,the statement said.
Meanwhile the US Vice President,Joe Biden,supported the
idea of increasing the quota of H-1B visas so as to attract
best and the brightest from across the world.
Addressing a meeting of Export-Import Bank of the US
Biden said he supported “adding additional H1B visas so that American employers can hire the best and brightest,no matter where they come from,if they can’t be found here.”
As the cap on the H-1B visas reached in the first week
itself,the office of the New York Mayor,Michael Bloomberg,
said that this is a missed opportunity to attract the best and the brightest from across the world.
“The fact that our supply of H-1B visas was exhausted so
quickly is not only emblematic of our broken immigration
system – it represents yet another missed opportunity to
attract the world’s best and brightest to our shores,” said
John Feinblatt,Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg and Chairman of the Partnership for a New American Economy.
“If we want to stay competitive and thrive in the global
marketplace,we need to make sure that our immigration laws fit the needs of our economy.
Sitting still risks the world passing us by,” he said. The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together
more than 500 Republican,Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today.
“It basically shows the main problem of this system,which
is that there’s no way of prioritising. When this takes place,it’ll cause a big frenzy,” said
Neil Ruiz,an associate fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“It just shows how H-1B has become a catch-all visa for
all highly skilled immigrants,” he told The Los Angeles Times.
The lottery for the H-1B cap was last used in April 2008,when the cap was filled on the first day itself. Last year in 2012,it took 73 days for the USCIS to fill in the cap,while in took 235 days to receive applications to fill the 65,000 H-1B numbers in 2011; 300 days in 2010,and 264 days in 2009.
In 2008 and 2007 the caps were reached in the first few