[author: Jenny Baranko]
Once again, demand for H-1B visa petitions greatly exceeded the supply, as predictably, the H-1B visa quota cap for fiscal year 2015 was reached quickly. Within the first five days of the filing, USCIS reached the H-1B cap for the fiscal year, receiving approximately 172,500 H-1B visa petitions. This marks a nearly 50,000 increase of H-1B petitions from the previous year.
Under the current H-1B program, USCIS approves no more than 65,000 H-1B visa petitions each fiscal year, plus an additional 20,000 petitions for professionals who have earned a graduate degree from a U.S. university or college. A computer generated process randomly selects which visa petitions USCIS will process while unselected petitions are returned with filing fees.
This is the second consecutive year that the H-1B visa cap has been reached within five days. While the cap remains in place at 65,000, demand for H-1B visas continues to increase. This means that statistically a dismal 37% of applicants received visas under the regular quota. The problems with the low H-1B visa quota and USCIS’ reluctance to approve L-1B (intra-company transfer with specialized knowledge) visas, further causes problems for foreign professional workers seeking to work in the United States at a time when there appears to be no solutions coming from the Hill.