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As expected, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 H-1B visa cap was met less than a week after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting petitions.

H-1B visas are issued to allow employers to hire foreign workers with specialized knowledge or technical expertise in disciplines such as science, engineering, and computer professions. The USCIS sets a cap each year for how many H-1B visas it will issue.

On April 1, USCIS began accepting petitions for visas subject to the FY2014 cap. The cap was 65,000 with another 20,000 allocated to workers with master’s degrees or higher obtained in the United States. It was expected that the caps would be reached within the first week, and companies were advised to submit their petitions as soon as possible.

USCIS announced that the 65,000 cap, as well as the one for those with advanced degrees, were both met as of Friday, April 5, and that it would not accept any more petitions. The agency will use a computer-generated selection process, or lottery, for all petitions that were received by April 5. The lottery will be conducted first for the advanced degree exemption. Advanced degree petitions not selected will then be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. The date of the lottery has not yet been determined.

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