It took just five days for employers to file well over 85,000 H-1B visa petitions—the maximum number allowed for the 2017 fiscal year.
On April 7, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would no longer accept H-1B visa applications for FY 2017. The visa allows American companies to employ a foreign, highly skilled worker for up to six years. Example professionals include scientists, engineers, and programmers. Employers, not individuals, apply for the visas.
The USCIS received over 236,000 applications, beating last year's record of 233,000. Every year since 2014, it has taken less than a week for applications to reach the maximum allowed. By comparison, in 2010 it took over 200 days.
From the applicant pool, the USCIS then randomly selected 65,000 to receive an H-1B. An additional 20,000 foreign workers with U.S. master's degrees were considered under the agency’s “advanced degree exemption.”
USCIS clarified that it would continue processing petitions relating to current H-1B holders, including extensions and employer changes. A full overview of the visa can be found on the agency’s website.