By Dawn Lurie, Mahsa Aliaskari, and Catherine Risoleo

As a testament to both the improving economy and the need for global talent, over 124,000 H-1B visa applications were filed within the first five days of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 quota opening, all vying for only 65,000 visas. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received more than the number of H-1B petitions it takes to reach the statutory cap on April 5, 2013. USCIS also stated that the limit had been met for 20,000 H-1B visas that are reserved from the cap based on an advanced degree (Master’s cap) exemption. USCIS further announced on April 8, 2013, that a lottery drawing occurred to select the petitions that would receive the 65,000 H-1B visas available for FY 2014. The last time a lottery system was used to determine which petitioners received H 1B visa numbers was in April of 2008. Any petitions not selected by the lottery, or received after April 5th will be rejected by USCIS and the government will return the petition with all of the filing fees.

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