On April 7, the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2017 was reached. For the fourth consecutive year, it was reached in this short period of time. What this means now is that USCIS will conduct a lottery to choose the companies that will be able to employ the skilled foreign workers they need.
Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly-skilled foreign professionals submit their applications for the pool of H-1B visas beginning on April 1 each year. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.
Congress has a limit of 65,000 visas for new hires and 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university. In the last years, demand for H-1B visas has outstripped the supply and the cap has been quickly reached. In FY 2015, more than 230,000 petitions were received. This leaves some employers with no ability to access the workers they have determined they need. This year is no exception. USCIS also noted that it received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.
This shows how far away from reality our immigration law is, and how they are hurting businesses and economic growth. If a company cannot hire the people they need, how are they going to compete in an ever changing global economy?