On 10 April 2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received sufficient quota-subject H-1B filings for government fiscal year 2020 (1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020) to meet both the general H-1B quota (65,000) for individuals holding a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and the additional quota (20,000) for individuals holding a US master’s or other advanced degree.
USCIS received 201,011 H-1B petitions during the filing period (1-5 April 2019), including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. This is above the 190,098 cap-subject petitions received last year, but still a significant reduction from the 236,000 petitions received for fiscal year 2017.
In accordance with the new H-1B regulation, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap, including those that may have been eligible for the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS then selected a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption from the remaining eligible petitions.
USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a prohibited duplicate filing.
Employers may expect to receive receipts for selected cases over the next several weeks. USCIS will also announce when it will start Premium Processing for selected petitions (expected no later than 20 May 2019).
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, are exempt from the FY 2020 H-1B cap. Also exempt are petitions filed by organisations that are cap exempt.
USCIS will 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
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position
Our AdviceNote that the H-1B caps for Fiscal Year 2020 have already been reached, although bear in mind that many H-1B petitions are exempt from the cap.
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