233,000 H-1B Filings for 85,000 Slots in 5 days

UPDATE: April 14, 2015 - USCIS has announced that premium processing of H-1B petitions selected in the lottery will begin on April 27, 2015.

Employers' chances of attracting and retaining global talent just got worse.  USCIS has received 233,000 filings for only 85,000 H-1B slots this entire year, all received within a 5 day window.  With close to three times more cases filed than Congress allows, chances of obtaining an H-1B work visa this year are about 1 in 3.  That means that a majority of those international students who obtain U.S. degrees and a job offer will have to leave the country.

USCIS will now undertake a random lottery to determine which of the filings will be accepted and which will be rejected.  The agency will begin premium processing of the lottery winners no later than May 11, 2015, according to the press release.

How does your Congressperson feel about the cap?  Ask them.  Go to the House of Representatives website and look up your Representative by zip code.  Let them know what you think about the 65,000 regular cap, which was set back in 1990, and the 20,000 U.S. Master's degree exception to the cap set over a decade ago.

Some things to know about the H-1B cap are that the quota does not apply to someone who already has an H-1B, or for positions with U.S. higher education institutions or those non-profits affiliated with them, and doesn't apply to non-profit and government research organizations.