It’s the end of another successful H-1B lottery season. This year has seen record numbers with over 201,000 cap-subject petitions being filed to enter into the lottery. With one big change in place and another on the horizon, let’s take a look at how this cap has gone and what we can expect in years to come as the USCIS enters a new phase for the H-1B cap.
Completion of H-1B Cap
On May 17th, the USCIS announced that the data entry and receipting for the H-1B petitions that were selected has been completed. This means that all of the petitions that were selected in both the regular cap and the master’s cap have had their data entered into the USCIS database and that the Service will now begin sending unselected H-1B petitions back to their owners with their fees.
Getting Your Receipt or Returned Petition
The USCIS stated in their release that the sheer volume of the petitions submitted makes it so that they cannot give an accurate timeframe for when unselected petition packets will be returned to petitioners. They have asked that petitioners wait until a receipt notice or the petition has been obtained before making formal inquiries about the status of a petition that was subject to the cap.
This means that you may not know whether or not your petition was selected until you received either a receipt of notice or the return of the unselected petition. This may take several weeks, so it may be best to consult your attorney to get a better idea of the timeframe.
Changes for Next Year
While this year, we find ourselves waiting for the USCIS to send receipt notices or return petition packets, next year will be much different. As we have mentioned before, the USCIS is moving over to an electronic H-1B registration system that will do away with petitioning before the lottery.
Rather than file an I-129 along with supporting documents and fees in order to make a submission into the lottery, next year, employers will register their alien beneficiaries into the USCIS database and the lottery winners will be chosen from the registrations. Only those that are chosen will need to send petitions. This will eliminate the need for the USCIS to sift through and return tens of thousands of petitions to their owners each year.