- A federal court judge denied the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s attempt to block a lawsuit challenging the legality of its H-1B lottery late last week, according to a Computerworld report.
- The current H-1B lottery system does not consider visa applications in the order the agency receives them, which the lawsuit claims is unlawful. Instead of a lottery, the plaintiffs want a H-1B date filing system.
- The government sought to have the case dismissed on legal technicalities but U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon denied the motion.
The plaintiffs, two companies that sought to hire H-1B workers but were denied because they lost the lottery, are seeking a summary judgment. If granted, the decision could end the lottery as early as 2017.
Tech companies have pushed for an expansion of the H-1B program, claiming that a shortage of tech talent in the U.S. makes it necessary to recruit workers from overseas. But opponents of the H-1B program say bringing in workers from outside the U.S. displaces American workers.
In April, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it received more than 85,000 petitions—equivalent to a full year’s supply—in just five days. The agency announced it would award the visas through a lottery, because it already surpassed the 85,000 available. This was the fourth year in a row that requests outnumbered supply in less than a week. With demand far outpacing supply, a new distribution system could make waves across sectors.