US completes lottery for H-1B applications

US completes lottery for H-1B applicationsWASHINGTON: The US has completed the computerized draw of lots for granting the H-1B visas after receiving 2,36,000 petitions – over thrice the official cap of 65,000 – for the most sought-after work visa for IT professionals, including from India.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday announced it received over 2,36,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1 for the Financial Year 2017, in just five days of opening up the process.

It also said in the media statement that it has completed the computerized draw of lots that would determine the successful applicants.

The computerized draw of lots would determine the successful applicants for the 65,000 Congressional mandated H-1B visas and another 20,000 for those foreign students who completed their higher studies from a US academic institute in subjects if science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

On April 9, the USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the general-category cap and the cap under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit, it added.

The USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing, it said.

As announced on March 16 this year, the USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16. It would continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

The number of petitions received is more than thrice the Congressionally-mandated cap in the general category for the work visas for highly-skilled workers in the general category.

It also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions by those foreign students who completed their higher studies from a US academic institute in subjects if science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

H-1B visa, popular among Indian techies, is used by American companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.–PTI

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