USCIS announced yesterday, 19th March 2008 a few changes to the H1B 2009 selection process.
1. No duplicate petitions for the same worker by the same firm
To ensure a fair and orderly distribution of available H-1B visas, USCIS will deny or revoke multiple petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees submitted with multiple or duplicative petitions.
2. Applications will be accepted for 5 days, even if the cap is reached on day 1.
April 1, 2008 is the first day petitions may be received for an October 1, 2008 start date. When it is determined that the numerical limitations have been reached, USCIS employs a random selection process to choose among the petitions received on the “final receipt date.” If the “final receipt date” falls within any one of the first five business days, the random selection will be run using all the cap-subject petitions received on those five days.
3. For 20,000 limit for Advanced degree holders, if cap is reached within the first five days, random selection will be carried out in two phases. Lottery will be first conducted ONLY for advanced degree holders first (for 20000 applications). And include all those that are not selected in the lottery for the 65000 cap along with regular applicants.
If the 20,000 advanced degree limit is reached during the first five business days, USCIS will randomly select from those petitions ahead of conducting the random selection for the 65,000 limit. Petitions subject to the 20,000 limit that are not selected in that random selection will be considered with the other H-1B petitions in the random selection for the 65,000 limit.
Also read Fact Sheet: Changes to the FY2009 H-1B Program for more details.