US Citizenship & Immigration Services announced today that it received approximately 124,000 petitions for the 85,000 H-1Bs available this year.
The lottery was conducted April 7 (randomly, using computer-generated numbers). The 20,000 master’s cap lottery was conducted first. Any petition not chosen in that lottery was entered in the “regular” lottery for the remaining 65,000 H-1Bs.
Those whose petitioners were chosen will receive I-797 receipts. Those not chosen will receive the petition packet and their filing fees back. We do not know the time frame for obtaining receipts or returns, but note that the government is moving very quickly so far.
Remember that the H-1B cap applies only to new H-1B cases (for someone who has never been in H-1B status previously) (except in some very limited circumstances). Also, certain jobs and employers are exempt from the cap, including institutions of higher education, non-profit affiliates of those institutions, jobs that are located on a college campus, among others.