Tag Archives: h1b 2013

H-1B Visa 2013 Summary

While technically we haven’t reached the end of the H-1B visa season for FY-2014 it is essentially over as this year in the first week of April 2013, the USCIS announced it had received 124,000 H-1B applications and that it would no longer accept anymore.

The H-1B visa lottery was instituted for the first time since 2008 to allocate the visa given the 65,000 regular cap and 20,000 advanced degree exemption extra quota. Premium processing began on April 15 for those applications that paid the extra $1,225 filing fee to have their applications processed within 2 weeks from commencement. Those that missed out during the lottery had their applications and fees returned and over the last few weeks those that were selected in the lottery were notified, although their actual petitions still need to be processed meaning there is still a small chance of rejection.

Below is a summary of this year compared to past year’s H-1B visa seasons. As you can see since the bad economic years of FY-2011  (during 2010) and FY-2010 (during 2009), the caps have been filling ever more quickly from January the following year to November, then June for last year’s season and now back to right away in April as we had in 2008 with oversubscription. Let’s hope things improve via US Immigration reform because no doubt the same thing will happen next year.

Cap Type FY2014 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 4/5/2013
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 4/5/2013
Cap Type FY2013 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 6/11/2012
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 6/7/2012
Cap Type FY2012 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 11/22/2011
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 10/21/2011
Cap Type FY2011 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 1/26/2011
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 12/31/2010
Cap Type FY2010 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 12/21/2009
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 12/21/2009
Cap Type FY2009 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 4/7/2008
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 4/7/2008
Cap Type FY2008 Cap Amount Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 4/3/2007
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 4/4/2007

Hopefully all of you that applied got lucky and possibly for H-1B Visa season in 2014 (FY-2015), new US Immigration reform which proposes increasing the cap to 124,000 for H-1B annually initially with further increases in subsequent years based on demand. Additionally the Green Card petitions that are currently in the system and new ones for particularly STEM graduates from US Universities may also increase along with the potential of the Startup visa.


H1B Visa Lottery 2013

So the predictions have come true for H1B Visa season in April 2013 (also known officially with the USCIS as FY2014 as the H1B visas once awarded take effect on October 1, 2013 which is the start of the 2014 Financial Year for immigration).

In the first five days between April 1-5, 2013, the USCIS received 124,000 applications. The problem is there are only nominally 85,000 H-1B visas available of which 20,000 are allocated under the Advanced Degree Exemption for foreigners who complete a graduate degree at an accredited US University. Also some of those H-1B visas are reserved for H-1B1 visas for Chilean and Singaporian nationals under respective Free Trade agreements with US although this number tends to be very small an no more than a couple of thousand annually. It should be noted that most non-profit, education related and government employers don’t have their successful H-1B applicants count against the 85,000 cap. Nor do prior approved H-1B visa transfers or renewals count against the current cap.

So the dreaded H-1B Visa Lottery has come true for 2013. This is the first time since 2008 there has been an H-1B visa lottery and only the third one ever after 2007 and 2008. Both those years had greater number of applications with over 190,000 and 160,000 respectively. So this year based purely on numbers, assuming your application and employment is all fine as well as you as the candidate you would seem to have a 75% chance of having your application assessed and hopefully then approved. There is also a portion of junk applications as well so your chances might be even better than that and certainly better than H1B candidates in 2007 and 2008.

However this is not an easy time for H1B applicants, their family and friends and even their employers. This highlights all that is wrong with the current US Immigration policy where high qualified candidates who will help the US economy as has repeatedly been proven in studies could be sent home when there is over abundance of need and shortage of supply of local candidates.

Note this should not be confused with the Green Card Lottery which is a true lottery based almost exclusively on luck and awards about 55k Green Cards annually to those that enter.

Good luck to all the H-1B applicants in 2013!