25 January 2019

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

USCIS announced that premium processing will resume on Monday, January 28th, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (“master’s cap”). USCIS recommends that petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFE) for pending FY 2019 cap subject petitions include the RFE response with their premium processing upgrade request.

The temporary suspension continues to apply to all other previously specified categories of H-1B petitions: Continue reading

2 January 2019

Unprecedented Demand for H-2B Visas Leads to iCERT System Crash

The iCERT portal system, used to electronically file certain required applications for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, crashed due to the overwhelming number of H-2B labor certification filings that occurred on January 1st, 2019.  Continue reading

30 November 2018

Proposed Changes to the H-1B Lottery Process Released

DHS has released its notice of proposed rule-making that will bring major changes to the H-1B lottery process. DHS expects the new rule to be implemented in time for the upcoming cap-season.  Continue reading

24 September 2018

Impact of Extended Premium Processing Suspension on F-1 Students in the Cap-Gap

With October 1st quickly approaching, F-1 students currently in the cap-gap should be aware of how they may be impacted by the extended premium processing suspension for H-1B cap-subject petitions, that is expected to last until February 19, 2019. Here’s why:  Continue reading

28 August 2018

USCIS Strikes Again! USCIS Extends and Expands Premium Processing Suspension for H-1B Petitions

Today USCIS announced its plan to extend the current temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions, which initially went into effect on April 02, 2018. Further, beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS will expand this suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. These suspensions are expected to last until February 19, 2019.  Continue reading

4 May 2018

Tech Companies Fight Back With Lawsuit Against H-1B Visa Restrictions

On May 1st, a group of small technology companies filed suit in federal court against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over a policy memo issued in February 2018, which places greater restrictions on H-1B employers who place employees at third-party work-sites. Continue reading

12 April 2018

USCIS Completes H-1B Lottery for FY2019!

USCIS has completed the H-1B cap random selection process. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, “lottery”, to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the 65,000 congressionally-mandated cap and the 20,000 Masters cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced that 190,098 H-1B petitions were received in this filing period. For Fiscal Year 2018, 199,000 H-1B petitions were received during the filing period.   Continue reading

6 April 2018

USCIS Announces H-1B Cap Has Been Met for FY2019

USCIS has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

USCIS encourages H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Cap Season page.

29 March 2018

New Policy Memo Warns Against Multiple H-1B Cap Filings for the Same Beneficiary

USCIS issued a new policy memo on March 23rd, addressing the prohibition on multiple H-1B filings. Based on this policy guidance, USCIS will deny or revoke the approval of all cap-subject H-1B petitions filed by “related entities” for the same beneficiary absent a legitimate business need. Continue reading

24 March 2018

Impact of Premium Processing Suspension on OPT Students Selected in the H-1B Lottery

On March 20th, USCIS announced that Premium Processing will be suspended for all Cap-Subject H-1B petitions filed in the lottery for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019). This is expected to last until September 10, 2018.  Premium Processing allows for adjudication of a petition within 15 days of receipt of Form I-907 and associated fees as opposed to normal processing times that can exceed 6 months. If a Request for Evidence (RFE) is received, USCIS will issue a decision within 15 days from receipt of the employer’s RFE response.

The suspension of premium processing can have a negative impact on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)* students whose petitions are selected in the lottery and whose OPT will expire prior to October 1st. Here’s why: Continue reading

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