USCIS Announces Completion of FY 2008 H-1B Lottery

So what is the update with the H1B Lottery? We have received advance notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that on April 12, 2007 it conducted the computer-generated random selection process to determine which H-1B petitions, subject to the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for the 2008 fiscal year (FY 2008), would continue to final processing.

The agency has confirmed that it received a total of 123,480 cap-subject petitions on April 2 and 3. These petitions were labeled with unique numerical identifiers, and a sufficient number of petitions to reach the annual H-1B cap was then selected randomly by computer. The chosen numerical identifiers were then transmitted to the appropriate Service Center for further processing.

Within the next four weeks, a receipt notice will be generated for each petition that was selected by lottery for adjudication. Those that were not chosen will be sent back to the petitioner or authorized representative along with the fee(s).

For cases that were initially filed with requests for premium processing, the 15-day premium processing period begins on April 12, which is the date petitions were chosen through the random selection process.

USCIS will provide additional updates as the processing of FY 2008 H-1B cap cases continues. The USCIS announcement (which at this writing is not yet posted on the agency’s website, but should appear shortly) does not contain any information about the advanced degree cap. Given that the most recent information released by the agency indicated that as of April 9, USCIS had determined that approximately 12,989 of the H-1B petitions received on April 2 and 3 counted against the 20,000 cap for foreign nationals holding master’s or higher degrees from U.S. universities, it seems likely that the advanced degree cap has not yet been reached.

What it boils down to is that clients and lawyers can only wait and see if cases are chosen or not. If not selected, we must start planning for alternative visa options. For some clients going back home may be the only option left.

I feel helpless as an attorney that there is really nothing that I can do to help my H1B clients, at the same time this crisis may be a wake up call for the government to act and pass a serious reform. We certainly need one.

We need those immigrants and we need legal ways to bring them over and keep them here. Attroney David Murray in his recent article said

The fact is, America does not educate enough scientists and engineers (or physicians and nurses for that matter, although not many nurses qualify for H-1B) to meet the needs, and future needs of the nation. I guess that rather than scientists and engineers, US graduates want to be writers, poets, philosophers and lawyers. Reliable statistics show that the US national average for unemployment is under 5% … that is virtually no unemployment at all, because these statistics are not really accurate, but err on the high side because they take into account people temporarily between jobs and those who have simply dropped out of the job market, like stay-at-home moms and forty-year-old mid-life-crisis stumble bums who hold up placards at freeway entrances announcing to the world that they are homeless failures in the land of milk and honey, where the streets are paved with gold. To verify current unemployment statistics on a state-by-state basis, click here.

We will keep updating as the H1B saga continues….