On July 30, 2018, USCIS announced that is has returned all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected through the computer-generated random selection process.
Earlier this month, USCIS Director Cissna provided a letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R – IA) updating USCIS’ efforts in ensuring “the integrity of the immigration system, specifically the nonimmigrant worker programs.” Cissna specifically states to the Senator that “USCIS is reviewing existing regulations, policies, and programs, and developing a combination of rulemaking, policy regulations, policies, and programs, to implement the ‘Buy American and Hire American’ Executive Order.”
April 11, 2018 | USCIS completes lottery for FY 2019 H-1B cap
USCIS announced today that April 11, 2018, the Service completed their H-1B visa lottery selection for FY 2019.
Out of 190,098 H-1B petitions, the Service ran their random computer generated selection process for both the bachelor's and master's cap which selected enough petitions to process for the annual H-1B cap of 65,000 visas (plus 20,000 with master's degrees or higher).
The E-3 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that applies only to nationals of Australia who will be working as professionals in specialty occupations.
What is a Specialty Occupation?
Generally put, a "specialty occupation" requires at least a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent.
How to qualify for an E-3 visa?
As previously indicated earlier this year in January 2018, by USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS), and by the agency's March 6, 2018 public teleconference, USCIS confirmed today March 20, 2018 that there will be a temporary suspension of all FY 2019 cap subject petitions.
Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap, however will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension of new cap cases is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018.
With the new policy memo released by USCIS recently, it is a good time to remind H-1B employers and employees of when exactly an amendment is required to ensure proper visa compliance. Not filing an amendment when required can have some pretty negative consequences, such as the H-1B employee failing to maintain status . . . which leaves room for later denials of extension of status. Nobody wants a denial when it could have been avoided.
USCIS issued a new policy memo (PM) on Thursday February 22, 2018 setting new requirements for off-site workers.The new PM is effective immediately and expands the contract and itinerary requirements in order to get an H-1B approval for companies filing for employees who will be stationed at off-site work locations. Equally as important, the new PM sets in stone a lengthy and comprehensive list of reminders, giving us a sense into how exactly off-site petitions are currently reviewed by the agency.
USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) confirmed that the agency is not anticipating any procedural changes for the FY2019 H-1B cap season. A pre-registration system was proposed in DHS' regulatory agenda in December and may be implemented in the future. However, as anticipated, USCIS intends to follow the same procedures that were used for the FY2018 H-1B season.
A company approached me thinking that they had to file their employee’s H-1B in the new H-1B lottery, again, after their employee’s visa petition was approved with USCIS but rejected at the consulate. What happened in their case was that the H-1B project was approved, but actual visa rejected after receiving a 221(g). This resulted in the H-1B employee being stuck abroad for about eight months not being able to start their project.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 new H-1B Cap Season has officially begun. To help guide prospective H-1B employers and employees that are planning on filing new H-1Bs this year, the following is a list of frequently asked questions that arise. This information seeks to accomplish two goals: to provide a basic background of the cap season (what cap season is and how it works) and to provide more detailed information that guides the more detailed inquirer.
Although a filing for an extension of stay (EOS) generally must be submitted before the expiration of an individual's previously authorized period of stay, an immigration officer at USCIS does have complete discretion to approve a late extension filing under federal regulations, specifically under 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 if the reasons for the delay warrant the discretion.
The H-1B is changing:
Just months after the new presidential administration took office, shifts in immigration law and policy started a new "era of immigration enforcement," most notably causing heavier scrutiny on the H-1B visa program. Here is a timeline of H-1B policy changes that created pushback on the H-1B in 2017, and insights on what 2018 has in store for H-1B employers and employees.