- posted: Apr. 19, 2015
The Federal government works on a fiscal year basis, with the fiscal year starting on October 1 of each year. The next fiscal year (2016) runs from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. Each fiscal year, new allotments of immigrant and non-immigrant visas become available. One highly coveted non-immigrant visa is the H-1B visa. The H-1B visa is most often used by businesses seeking to hire foreign workers in science, engineering, and computer programming, as well as other specialty occupations that normally require the minimum of a bachelor's degree for entry to the occupation.
Each year, a maximum of 85,000 H-1B work visas, which includes 20,000 for those workers with a master's degree from a US educational institution, become available. (The limits for the number of visas available are set by Congress.) And the competition for these visas is very fierce, The opportunity to compete for an H-1B visa for Fiscal Year 2016 (with an employment start date of October 1, 2015) was short - as USCIS only accepted H-1b petitions for five business days. In the period from April 1 to April 7, USCIS received 233,000 petitions for the 85,000 visa slots.
On April 13th, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select which petitions will be selected to move forward through the USCIS intense screening process. Petitions not selected in the lottery, will be returned to the petitioning employer. This means that about 2 out of every 3 petitions will be rejected.
Really, I am not kidding. The US allocates visas for highly educated and skilled workers through a lottery! Yes, a computer program randomly selects which employers (and which workers) will have an opportunity to qualify for an H-1B visa.
Is this really the way we want the US immigration system to work? I would love t hear your thoughts.