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).
USCIS started the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program in 2009 as an additional way to verify information in certain visa petitions. The types of petitions most subject to random site visits are H-1B and L-1 petitions. Usually a site visit is conducted by a Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) officer to check in and verify the facts stated in filed petitions after visa approval to ensure visa compliance. Employers with H-1B and L-1 approvals should note that a site visit can be conducted at anytime and any day at their worksite(s). Officers select petitions to review and check at random.
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.
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.