August 26, 2019

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H-1B Visa Lottery Completed – USCIS Will Start Returning Rejected Filings

On May 4, 2015, USCIS announced that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions. USCIS had previously announced on April 13, 2015 that it had received 233,000 petitions submitted by petitioners seeking H-1B employment status for employees to commence employment on October 1, 2015. That number represented an increase of more than 60,000 petitions received for the fiscal year 2015 H-1B cap. While the cap remained the same from last fiscal year to this fiscal year, the number of petitions submitted rose by a robust 35%. This means that more than 60% of all cases filed were rejected.

USCIS will now start the process of returning submitted H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected for H-1B processing. It is unclear how long the process will take, but based on precedent from previous years and the high volume of petitions submitted, it could be ongoing throughout the month of May. As of this week, USCIS continues to issue Receipt Notices for those petitions which have been randomly selected for review and processing, and remaining Receipt Notices for selected petitions will likely continue for another week to two weeks from this writing.

USCIS will issue a further announcement once all of the submitted but unselected H-1B petitions have been returned to petitioning employers. Employers who have not yet received Receipt Notices may want to consider other possible options and strategies for employment of the beneficiaries of their submitted petitions. Although the H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification is the most popular for employees possessing a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and performing jobs that require that degree, it is conceivable that other classifications may also be a fit for employees who are beneficiaries of unselected petitions, depending on the facts and circumstances of a given case.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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About this Author

Maggie Murphy Attorney, Immigration, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Office Managing Principal

Maggie Murphy is the Office Managing Principal in the Austin, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She concentrates her practice on advanced U.S. immigration and nationality law and global business immigration matters, assisting employers with immigration challenges facing international workforces.

Ms. Murphy has extensive experience in all areas of U.S. immigration law, but she primarily focuses her current practice on employment-based immigration for corporate clients and outstanding professors/researchers, as well as...

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Forrest G. Read IV, Immigration, Employment, Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Law Firm
Principal

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has special expertise in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read's immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

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