On April 1, 2016, USCIS will begin to accept FY2017 H-1B petitions. If employers have not yet finalized their decisions on whether to sponsor current employees or potential new hires, they should do so quickly in order to ensure an H-1B petition can be prepared and filed on time.
The H-1B cap remains at 65,000, and the first 20,000 petitions filed by foreign nationals with at least a U.S. master’s degree will continue to be exempt from the cap. As has been the case since 2013, it is extremely likely the H-1B cap will be exceeded during the first five business days starting April 1, requiring USCIS to resort to a lottery. Under last year’s FY2016 cap, USCIS received approximately 233,000 cap-subject petitions during the first five business days beginning April 1, 2015. (When a lottery is triggered, USCIS will include all petitions received during the first five business days.)
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