USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap and Completes Random Selection Process for FY 2017

As was predicted, USCIS easily reached the H-1B Cap for the 2017 Fiscal Year. USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, 2016.  This begs the question whether our immigration system is broken or not dynamic enough to keep pace with the shift in the economy.  If we look at the history of the H-1B visa and when the cap has been reached in each of the past 12 years, it becomes clear that the current H-1B yearly allotments are sufficient only in a downturn economy.

YEAR:H1B CAP NUMBERSDATE H1B CAP REACHED
H1B 2003 (FY 2004 cap)65,000October 1, 2003
H1B 2004 (FY 2005 cap)65,000October 1, 2004
H1B 2005 (FY 2006 cap)85,000August 10, 2005
H1B 2006 (FY 2007 cap)85,000May 26, 2006
H1B 2007 (FY 2008 cap)85,000April 3, 2007
H1B 2008 (FY 2009 cap)85,000April 7, 2008
H1B 2009 (FY 2010 cap)85,000December 21, 2009
H1B 2010 (FY 2011 cap)85,000January 26, 2011
H1B 2011 (FY 2012 cap)85,000November 22, 2011
H1B 2012 (FY 2013 cap)85,000June 11, 2012
H1B 2013 (FY 2014 cap)85,000April 5 2013
H1B 2014 (FY 2015 cap)85,000April 7 2014
H1B 2015 (FY 2016 cap)85,000April 7 2014
H1B 2016 (FY 2017 cap)85,000April 7 2014

With the down turn in the economy from the recent credit crisis, the H-1B Cap numbers were not reached until later in the filing period.  This is a departure from what happened just before the downturn in the economy and soon after the economy started to improve, where  the cap was reached within the first week of the filing period.

In order for the U.S. to remain dominant in the technology sector then it must attract the best from all over the world.  In order to keep attracting the best from all over the world, the H-1B cap numbers need to be adjusted to allow U.S. companies to have access to more foreign nationals that possess the talent required for advancement in the technology sector.  The lack of H-1B visa numbers that currently does not keep up with the demand, will mean that some very talented foreign nationals will not be able to come (or stay) to the U.S.  This in turn will have an adverse affect on tech companies that desperately have a need for these talented foreign nationals.

In any event, on April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (lottery), to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. Any unselected petitions that were filed will be rejected by USCIS.

For further information go to USCIS website