7 April 2019

USCIS Reaches FY 2020 H-1B Regular Cap

On April 5th, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received a sufficient number of petitions needed to reach the 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap for fiscal year (FY) 2020. USCIS stated that it will next determine whether it received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings (please see my previous post: New Policy Memo Warns Against Multiple H-1B Cap Filings for the Same Beneficiary)

I will provide further updates here regarding the master’s cap, when available.

Quick Reminders: 

  • Starting this year, USCIS will reverse the order of the H-1B lottery for the regular and master’s cap. The lottery will first be run for all H-1B cap-subject petitions filed, including those eligible for the master’s cap. USCIS will then run the lottery for the master’s cap by selecting a sufficient number of remaining eligible H-1B petitions needed to reach the master’s cap.
  • USCIS will offer premium processing in a two-phased process during the FY 2020 cap season in order to better manage requests without completely suspending the process as the agency did last year. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions. For specific details, please see my previous post: USCIS Announces a Two-Phased Approach for Premium Processing of FY 2020 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions.

 

19 March 2019

USCIS Announces a Two-Phased Approach for Premium Processing of FY 2020 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made its annual announcement regarding the start date for the upcoming H-1B cap season.  Specifically, USCIS stated that it will begin accepting fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions on April 1, 2019, and will reject any FY 2020 cap cases filed before April 1st. An additional announcement was made regarding premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions. USCIS will offer premium processing in a two-phased process during the FY 2020 cap season in order to better manage requests without completely suspending the process as the agency did last year. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions. Continue reading

11 March 2019

Premium Processing is Back for ALL H-1B Petitions

Premium Processing is back for ALL H-1B Petitions! USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. USCIS notes the following:

  • If you have received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium processing request to the service center now handling the petition. A copy of the transfer notice should be included with your premium processing request. Failure to do so can lead to delays.
  • If you received a Request for Evidence (RFE) for a pending H-1B petition, you should also include the RFE response with the premium processing request.
  • If your petition was transferred and you send your premium processing request to the wrong service center, USCIS will forward it to the petition’s current location. However, the premium processing clock will not start until the premium processing request has been received at the correct center.

Here is a timeline of the premium processing debacle: Continue reading

16 February 2019

Premium Processing Resumes for H-1B Petitions Filed on or Before December 21, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will resume premium processing on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018. USCIS noted the following: Continue reading

9 February 2019

PERM Wage Determinations Causing Significant Delay in PERM Filings

There are usually 3 steps to the employment based green card process: (1) PERM Labor Certification, (2) I-140 Immigrant Petition and (3) Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent resident. As part of the PERM Labor Certification process, an employer must obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor issues a Prevailing Wage Determination based on multiple factors, including, but not limited to, the job description, the minimum requirements for the position, and the area of intended employment. An employer must offer at least the prevailing wage for the sponsored position.

In addition to obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination, the employer must conduct recruitment to test the U.S. labor market to determine if there are any able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers for the job opportunity. Essentially, the employer must prove that the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers will not be adversely impacted by hiring a foreign worker permanently for the job. This will involve the employer advertising for the sponsored position (see my PERM FAQs for more details on this process). The recruitment process will take a minimum of 60 days to complete.

Currently, we are witnessing an increase in Prevailing Wage Determination processing times, with wage determinations taking a minimum of 4 months to be issued. This in turn can cause a significant delay in filing the PERM Labor Certification application.  Continue reading

30 January 2019

DHS Announces H-1B Lottery Final Rule

On January 30, 2019,  the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted for public inspection the final rule that amends the regulations governing the way H-1B cap-subject petitions will be processed. The final rule will be published on January 31, 2019 and will be effective in 60 days, just in time for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season.  Continue reading

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

27 November 2018

Fiscal Year 2018 PERM Statistics Released: PERM Labor Certification Filings Remain Steady

The Department of Labor (DOL) released PERM statistics for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018), indicating that filed PERM Labor applications remained steady with only a slight drop, and India continued to top the list of PERM Labor applications certified that year.  Continue reading