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Late Friday afternoon, Feb. 22, 2019, USCIS announced:
"On Feb. 19, 2019, USCIS received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of FY 2019. Feb. 19 is the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates before Oct. 1, 2019. The final receipt date is the date on which USCIS determines that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of H-2B workers for FY 2019.
The number of beneficiaries USCIS received petitions for surpassed the total number of H-2B visas available for the H-2B cap for FY 2019. In accordance with regulations, USCIS determined it was necessary to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of H-2B visa numbers to meet, but not exceed, the remainder of the cap for FY 2019. On Feb. 21, USCIS conducted a lottery to randomly select the petitions from those received on Feb. 19. As a result, USCIS assigned all petitions selected in the lottery the receipt date of Feb. 22. Premium processing service for petitions selected in the lottery also began on that date."