USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1 and ended on April 7. This is the fourth year in a row that USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the annual quota of available visas in the first 5 business days of April. Thus, USCIS was forced to resort to a lottery selection process again for FY2017.
On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. While it is difficult to accurately determine the percentage chance for the advanced degree exemption, we can determine that those in the general-category cap had a 27.54% chance of being picked. ((236,000 – 20,000) / 65,000 = 27.54%). This percentage represents the chance for a majority of applicants.
What often goes unsaid is that the remaining 72.46% are left with uncertainty about their future. Each unpicked petition represents a person’s future. Each individual is highly qualified and capable of performing professional-level work for U.S. companies. Yet these individuals and these companies must develop alterative plans for what is an arbitrary lottery. There is no less need for these highly-skilled individuals. And there is no reason to capriciously limit U.S. businesses.
This system is clearly flawed.