The FY2017 cap filing period opens on April 1, 2016. It is anticipated that the volume of H cap petitions this season will be at least as high as last year, when USCIS received approximately 233,000 cap-subject petitions during the first five business days in April. The number of H-1B petitions received by USCIS is expected to exceed the annual quota of 65,000 “regular” cap petitions and 20,000 advanced degree cap petitions.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced May 4, 2015, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in its computer-generated random process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, the time frame for returning these petitions is uncertain.

Read the full update here.

CNN Money reports that this year 233,000 foreigners applied for the H-1B, the most common visa for high-skilled foreign workers. That’s up significantly from 2014 (172,500 applications) and nearly double the applicants from two years ago (124,000). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will grant just 85,000 H-1B visas (20,000 of which are reserved for master’s degree holders), which it selected Monday via a lottery process.

Read the full story here.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that it will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting premium processing, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher, on April 27, 2015. USCIS first announced that it would temporarily adjust its premium processing practice due to the historic premium processing receipt levels combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season.

Read the full update here.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that it has received enough H-1B cap-subject petitions to reach the cap for FY2016. USCIS will complete initial intake before it conducts the lottery, but due to the high number of petitions, it is not yet able to announce when the lottery will occur.

Read the full update here.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would like to inform stakeholders about the proper action to take if cap-subject filings for fiscal year 2016 (FY16) H-1B petitions are mishandled by delivery services. If a petitioner filed an FY16 H-1B cap petition in a timely manner, but received notification from the delivery service that suggests that there may be a delay or damage to the package, the petitioner may file a second H-1B petition with a new fee payment and the following:

  • An explanation why a second petition is being filed, with supporting evidence, such as the notice from the delivery service; and
  • A request to withdraw the first petition filed for the FY16 H-1B cap.

Petitioners who do not include these items will be considered to have submitted duplicate filings. USCIS reminds employers that it will deny or revoke multiple or duplicative petitions filed by an employer, in the same fiscal year, for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees.

Read the full update here.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015. March 26, 2015 was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2015.

Read the full update here.

On April 1, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2016 cap. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2016 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

Read the full update here.

Bloomberg reports that President Obama’s immigration plan to keep highly skilled immigrant workers in the U.S. as well as deportation protection for an estimated 5 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents also includes provisions to increase job portability for immigrants with approved employment-based petitions who can’t get visas because of annual caps, expansion of the optional practical training program, a review of the permanent labor certification program, and guidance on L-1B intracompany transferee visas for “specialized knowledge” workers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is also about to publish a final rule granting work authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B highly skilled guestworkers who are in the process of obtaining lawful permanent residence through employment.

Read the full story here.

 

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reminds members that beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions with an October 1, 2014 start date may now begin filing their visa applications at U.S. consular posts.