By ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Homeland Security Department has received more applications for high-skilled immigration visas than are available and will use a lottery to select which companies will receive them and then pass them on to prospective employees.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started accepting petitions for the 85,000 highly coveted visas on Monday. In a statement Friday, the agency said it will stop accepting requests at the end of the day.
The government says that a computer-based lottery will decide which companies will get the H-1B visas, which are prized by Microsoft, Apple, Google and other tech companies. This is the first time since 2008 that the government has had to use a lottery to dole out the visas.
The government had predicted that demand would quickly outpace available visas.