USCIS announced that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY2018 cap on April 3, 2017. All cap-subject H-1B petitions filed before April 3, 2017, for the FY2018 cap will be rejected. In preparation for the FY2018 H-1B nonimmigrant visa cap season,
WASHINGTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap on April 3, 2017. All cap-subject H-1B petitions filed before April 3, 2017, for the FY 2018 cap will be rejected.
The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology.
Congress set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year. An advanced degree exemption from the H-1B cap is available for 20,000 beneficiaries who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher. The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met.
USCIS recently announced a temporary suspension of premium processing for all H-1B petitions starting April 3 for up to six months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification.While premium processing is suspended any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition will be rejected. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected.
USCIS has published a final rule to modernize and improve several aspects of certain employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs. USCIS has also amended regulations to better enable U.S. employers to hire and retain certain foreign workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents. This rule goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017.
Among other things, DHS is amending its regulations to:
Clarify and improve longstanding DHS policies and practices implementing sections of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act related to certain foreign workers, which will enhance USCIS’ consistency in adjudication.
Better enable U.S. employers to employ and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140 petitions) while also providing stability and job flexibility to these workers. The rule increases the ability of these workers to further their careers by accepting promotions, changing positions with current employers, changing employers and pursuing other employment opportunities.
Improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved Form I-140 petitions by maintaining a petition’s validity under certain circumstances despite an employer’s withdrawal of the approved petition or the termination of the employer’s business.
Clarify and expand when individuals may keep their priority date when applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
Allow certain high-skilled individuals in the United States with E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1 nonimmigrant status, including any applicable grace period, to apply for employment authorization for a limited period if:
They are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140 petition,
An immigrant visa is not authorized for issuance for their priority date, and
Today, DHS published in the Federal Register the final rule entitled “Enhancing Opportunities for H-1B1, CW-1, and E-3 Nonimmigrants and EB-1 Immigrants,” which becomes effective on February 16, 2016. This DHS announcement outlines the changes the rule makes to DHS regulations affecting highly skilled nonimmigrant workers for specialty occupations from Chile, Singapore (H-1B1) and Australia (E-3); EB-1 immigrant outstanding professors and researchers; and nonimmigrant workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) classification.
DHS published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs for high-skilled workers. The proposed rule would codify existing agency guidance on the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA). The rule would also make changes intended to improve stability and job flexibility for certain workers, and would amend regulations governing the processing of applications for employment authorization.
As a result of the FY2016 omnibus appropriations bill passed on December 18, 2015, thesupplemental fees for L-1 and H-1B petitions are increasing for companies that employ 50 or more employees in the United States and have more than 50 percent of their U.S. workforce in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B nonimmigrant status. Specifically, the previously expired fees for L-1 petitions will increase from $2,250 to $4,500, and the fees for H-1B petitions will increase from $2,000 to $4,000. These supplemental fees must be paid on initial and extension petitions.