For the sixth year in a row, the H-1B cap was reached in the first five days of filing eligibility. USCIS received approximately 199,000 H-1B petitions for 85,000 available visas (including 20,000 visas set aside for individuals who earned a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university). USCIS began issuing receipt notices on April 11 for petitions selected in the lottery. So what does the aspiring U.S. professional worker do now?
For those whose H-1B petitions were selected in the lottery, it’s merely a waiting game. Since the new fiscal year does not start until October 1, 2017, would-be H-1B workers must wait for their petitions to be adjudicated – hopefully in their favor. Foreign nationals who are outside the United States must obtain their H-1B visas to enter the United States, while those currently in the United States must continue to maintain valid status before starting employment based on an H-1B approval on October 1.
Foreign students who are beneficiaries of H-1B petitions not selected in the lottery will remain in F-1 status, but must obtain other valid status or depart the United States within 60 days following the date of the rejection notice or their program end date, whichever is later.