On April 13, 2015, USCIS announce that it has completed the computer-generated random selection process, known as the H-1B lottery for FY 2016. This year, USCIS received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period between April 1 and April 7, 2015. First the Service selected 20,000 petitions for the advanced degree exemption. Then it selected the remaining 65,000 petitions from the 213,000 remaining petitions.
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 will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2016 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed 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; and
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
What we can conclude from the H-1B lottery system is that it does a gross disservice to US employers who desperately need the talent of these high-skilled individuals that each H-1B petition represents. Without the benefit of these non-immigrant workers, many companies will not be able to compete in the high tech marketplace. So where does that leave the US economy when nearly 150,000 members of the workforce are left with limited options to continue working in the US? A better question is how long will our Congress continue to drag its feet while US businesses lose the value of these high skilled workers to other nations and their economies?