Despite all of the recent upheaval at the Department of Homeland Security, the work of the Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) continues. Earlier this month, USCIS announced that the agency had received a sufficient number of Cap-subject H-1B visa petitions needed to reach the congressionally-mandated 65,000 regular cap for fiscal year 2020. This means that yet again, employers submitted more petitions for H-1B visas in this fiscal year than the number of available visas. This will necessitate USCIS conducting a lottery pursuant to which 65,000 petitions will be selected at random with the agency rejecting and returning applications and filing fees for all unselected Cap-subject petitions. USCIS will next provide notification if and when a sufficient number of petitions have been received to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.
Because of the limited number of H-1B visas and the resulting lottery system, Stock and Leader submits its client H-1B petitions for receipt by USCIS on April 1st of each year – the first date on which petitions are accepted. Once the requisite number of petitions have been received by USCIS, no further Cap-subject H-1B petitions are accepted by USCIS until the following April 1st. Other employment-based visa options (as well as family-based options) are available, of course, and may be applicable to an individual or employer seeking to hire a foreign national.
Stock and Leader will continue to monitor developments regarding the FY 2020 H-1B cap season and regarding immigration law matters, generally.