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 received approximately 12,989 petitions counting 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.
We understand that many employers or their attorneys have already received receipt notices for cap-subject FY 2008 H-1B cases. However, USCIS has indicated informally that receipts dated on or before April 12, 2007 are not to be considered as evidence that the petition was selected in the random selection process.