CWS 3.0: April 10, 2013

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Lottery Decides H-1B Visa Recipients

Staffing users may not get the H-1B visas they want this year. As of Friday, more petitions for H-1B visas have been received than are slots available. As a result, the available H-1B slots were distributed by lottery.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday it received 124,000 H-1B applications as of Friday. There is an annual cap of 65,000 plus another 20,000 available under the advanced degree exemption.

The agency had warned in advance that it expected the cap to be reached quickly this year. However the last time it allocated H-1B visas via lottery was 2008.

“Contrary to popular perception, H1-Bs serve a critical role in our economy,” says Bryan Peña, VP, contingent workforce strategies and research for Staffing Industry Analysts. “Many CW program owners rely on these skilled workers to fulfill very real skills shortages in their local economies, the achievement of the H1-B cap and subsequent lottery process creates unneeded uncertainty and will only add additional expense to such hires. It is important for program owners who utilize H-1Bs to examine how the lottery process will affect their existing and future requirements and meet with their providers to discuss whether or not to adjust SLAs or cost forecasts.”

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