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Immigration Update: USCIS reaches FY 2020 H-1B Visa Cap

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On April 5, 2019, USCIS reached the 65,000 H-1B visa cap and the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”) for fiscal year 2020. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. USCIS will also continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Changes For This Year’s H-1B Selections:

USCIS announced that the cap-subject petitions will first be chosen from the regular cap of 65,000 and only then will the 20,000 master’s cap petitions be selected.  USCIS believes that reversing the selection process will result in a significantly higher number (16% or 5,340 workers) of petitions being chosen on behalf of beneficiaries who possess a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. higher education institution.

Changes in 2020 for FY2021 H-1B Petitions:

This appears to be the last year where cap-subject petitioners will have to submit the entire H-1B petition by the April 1 start date.

In 2020 – for FY2021 petitions – will register electronically with USCIS during a open window in March with employer’s name, EIN, address, beneficiary’s name, date and country of birth, citizenship, passport number and education and attorney information. This process will be limited to one registration per beneficiary. USCIS will then conduct its annual lottery from the pool of timely-filed electronic registrants. Selected registrants will have 60 days from selection notification to submit the corresponding H-1B petition. USCIS has announced it intends to stagger selection notices.