Immigration and firm news

USCIS Sued Over H-1B Lottery

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) demanding information about how the H-1B lottery is conducted. Every year, USCIS receives far more petitions than are allowed under the annual 85,000 cap, but the system for conducting the lottery to select those lucky 85,000 applicants remains a mystery. Looking for transparency, AILA wants to see how cap-subject petitions are processed, and how the numbers are estimated and tracked, whether the process is fair, and whether all the allotted numbers are actually used.

For the FY2017 filing season that occurred for one week only at the start of April 2016, USCIS received 236,000 applicants. Random selection for the lottery began April 9. 2016.  Data entry was completed on or about May 2, 2016. For those cases requesting it, premium processing adjudications started May 12. Cases not selected should be in the mail being returned to the applicants, including return of any filing fee checks.

Since GOP members in the House of Representatives have stalled immigration reform for years, the boondoggle that is the H-1B program continues to be just a game of roulette with no predictability for employers except the largest ones that file the most cases (mostly Indian contracting companies).  This occurs despite the law making H-1Bs available to employers of any size and any occupation where a specialty degree is required to perform the job.