USCIS just announced that they received 201,000 H-1B petitions at the beginning of this month which exceeds the number of H-1B visa numbers available for Fiscal Year 2020. This is no surprise given that employers have been filing H-1B petitions that have exceeded the number available each year for many years now. What is interesting is that the actual number of H-1B petitions that have been filed with USCIS continues to decrease. There were 233,000 last year and 236,000 the year before.

Despite the decrease in petition numbers, there still is not enough H-1B visa numbers to meet the demand. For this reason, USCIS continues to use an established lottery system to select 65,000 petitions for review, and then another 20,000 petitions for those remaining where the beneficiary has at least a US Master's degree. Please note that while the lottery system has been in place for some time now, the order of selection this year is new. This order gives preference to those petitions with beneficiaries who have at least a US Master's degree. Starting next year, a completely new process, which will include an electronic pre-registration system, will come into play. In the meantime, over the next few weeks, employers and employees alike wait to see whether their petitions have been selected for processing. The above has been provided for informational purposes only.