The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it has reached the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019 and would conduct a lottery to decide successful applicants for the work visa popular among Indian IT professionals. The fiscal year begins October 1, 2018.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa cap for advanced degree exemption, known as the master's cap, a statement said.
The statement did not mention the exact number of H-1B petitions it received since April 2, when it started accepting applications for the popular work visas for highly skilled Indian professionals. "We will not have exact petition receipt numbers for a few weeks.
However, the USCIS will be conducting a lottery as we have done in past years," Arwen FitzGerald, the USCIS spokesperson, told PTI. "The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings," the USCIS said.
The agency said that it would continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2019 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.