04/13/2019 - Update to H-1B Lottery Process



USCIS announced this past week that they have not only received more petitions than there are available H-1B visa numbers (85,000) but they have also completed their lottery selection process.  For those petitioners who have selected to use the Premium Processing option, which is an additional $1410 in government filing fees, they are already receiving notification as to whether their petitions have been selected in the lottery for substantive processing.  For those who have not selected Premium Processing, or for those petitions not available for Premium Processing, it is still a waiting game.  (Premium Processing is an option for employers to pay an additional filing fee for USCIS to generate a response, whether a decision or a request for more information, within 15 days of the receipt of the petition.  Under the H-1B lottery process, the 15-day clock does not technically start upon receipt of the petition due to the high volume of petitions USCIS receives during the first week of April.)
 
In prior communications, we announced that the H-1B demand had decreased.  This was incorrect.  The numbers have actually been fluctuating.  In FY2017 (April 2016), employers filed 236,000 petitions.  In FY2018, employers filed 199,000 petitions.  In FY2019, employers file 190,098 petitions.  This April, for FY2020, employers file 201,000 petitions.  Regardless, these numbers show a demand much greater than the allotted 85,000 that are available.
 
The above has been provided for informational purposes only.
 

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