U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”) announced on April 3, 2007 that it has received enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2008 (“FY2008”). CIS will use a random selection process (described below) for all cap-subject filings received by April 3, 2007. CIS will reject and return along with filing fee(s) all petitions received on those days that are not randomly selected.
CIS has determined that as of April 2, 2007, it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the FY2008 H-1B cap and has set the original final receipt date as April 2, 2007. In keeping with regulations and guidance, CIS will subject H-1B petitions received on the final receipt date and the following day to a computer-generated random selection process.
CIS will reject all cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY2008 received on or after Wednesday, April 4, 2007. CIS will reject and return along with the filing fee(s) all cap-subject H-1B petitions that are not randomly selected.
Employer Petitioners may re-submit petitions on April 1, 2008 when H-1B visas become available for FY2009. This is the earliest date for which an employer may file a petition requesting FY2009 H-1B employment with a start date of October 1, 2008.
As of April 2nd, CIS has received approximately 150,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions. CIS must perform initial data entry for all filings received on April 2 and April 3 prior to conducting a random selection process (lottery). In light of the high volume of filings, CIS announced that it will not be able to conduct the random selection for several weeks.
The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens with U.S.-earned masters or higher degrees are exempt from any fiscal year cap on H-1B visas. CIS does not know how many of these petitions it has received since the master’s cap case are mixed with the cap-subject cases received on April 2nd and 3rd. CIS will announce the final receipt date for these petitions.
This presents a dire situation for many foreign nationals. It puts many U.S. employers, who were counting on the availability of a fully qualified, talented workforce for FY2008, in the position of going another year and a half without the workers they need. This will impact the United States’ place in the global economy. We are already loosing talent to Europe and Canada.
It is time for Congress to act. The need for immigration reform is clear. We encourage our readers to contact congress, as well. This is the right and responsibility of each one of us. A model letter is available on AILA’s InfoNet, the website for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Write letters also to the editor of your local newspaper, and the producers of the radio and television news programs to which you listen.
The U.S. is again showing how well it can seal the border against skilled, law-abiding workers who are crucial to its economic future.