The US, which received about 124,000 applications for the 85,000 H-1B visas up for grabs this year, has used lottery to determine who all would be given the most sought after work visas among IT professionals.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday said that the lottery was done on April 7.

The federal agency had started receiving applications for H-1B visas on April 1 and five days later on April 5 it announced to have reached the cap.

“For the first time since 2008, USCIS has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2014 within the first week of the filing period,” an official statement said, adding that it also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

“USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption,” USCIS said.

“On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery“) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit,” the statement said.

“For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing,” the federal agency said.

The agency conducted the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first. All advanced degree petitions not selected were part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

USCIS said it will however continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally-mandated fiscal year 2014 H-1B cap, it said.

Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US, change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers, allow current H-1B workers to change employers and allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

(This article was published on April 9, 2013)
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