Lawsuit Seeks Details of H1B Lottery Process

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) annual H1B cap lottery selection results are life changing for many foreign nationals. The exact selection process, however, remains a mystery. The American Immigration Council (AIC) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have filed a lawsuit that seeks to compel the USCIS to provide specific details regarding how the H1B lottery process is actually administrated.


The USCIS conducts a lottery selection process for H1B petitions when filings exceed the allowed limits. For more than a decade, the USCIS has received H1B filings in excess of the annual numerical limits during the minimum five-day filing period. More information is available on the lottery process in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Time to Plan for the FY17 H1B Cap Season (20.Jan.2016).

Lawsuit Seeks Transparency in Lottery Selection

Both the AIC and AILA have filed a lawsuit seeking internal USCIS H1B lottery documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The desired information includes: how the lottery is conducted; how cap-subject H1B petitions are processed; and how H1B cap numbers are estimated and tracked. The goal of this effort is to determine if the system is operating fairly and in a manner that does not waste any of the highly coveted and scarce H1B cap numbers. This lawsuit was filed after standard FOIA requests were unsuccessful.


Efforts by the AIC and AILA to have light shed upon the manner in which cap-subject H1B cases are selected or rejected under the lottery system are appreciated. MurthyDotCom will provide updates on this important matter as new information emerges.


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