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USCIS issues interim final rule revising definition of “Specialty Occupation.”

DHS issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) regarding the H-1B visa program. The rule now restricts the program in several ways, including revising the definition of H-1B specialty occupation to include the requirement of a specific relationship between the required degree field and the duties of the offered position, and restores the requirement that employers provide contracts, work orders, itineraries or similar evidence to prove employer-employee relationship when sending H-1B workers to third party worksites. While this requirement was defeated in federal court, the rule restores the requirement. The IFR takes effect December 7, 2020.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Finds USCIS Improperly Interpreted “Degree” to Require Specific Subspecialty for H-1B Visa

Earlier this month, a federal judge in North Carolina ruled that USCIS erred in denying an H-1B petition based on its finding that an engineering position did not qualify as a specialty occupation because it did not require a degree in a specific subspecialty.

USCIS will not use prepaid mailers for H-1B communications.

February 14, USCIS announced that it will not use pre-paid mailers to send out communication or final notices for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions. This includes communication to those requesting consideration under the advanced degree exemption. All mailing will be automated under a first-class mail process.

USCIS formally announced the implementation of its online H-1B registration process.

On January 9, USCIS announced that its electronic H-1B registration system has been implemented and will be used for fiscal year 2021 H-1B petitions. USCIS will open registration from March 1 through March 20, 2020. Online registration requires a $10 fee and is not a full application. Registrations will be randomly chosen no later than March 31, and once chosen, a petitioner will need to fill out their H-1B petition

USCIS to allow ONLINE registration for H-1B’s

USCIS announced online registration for the H-1B lottery. On December 6, USCIS announced that registration for the 2021 H-1B lottery will take place online. Employers who want to file cap-subject petitions must register online and pay the $10 registration fee. Employers will only need to give basic information on both the employer and requested worker. If selected by the lottery, the employer will then file a full petition. The initial registration period will be from March 1 through March 20, 2020.

District Court Judge Grants Summary Judgment to the Plaintiffs and Denies Government’s Motion to Dismiss in H‑1B Denial Case

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered USCIS to change the plaintiff’s status to H‑1B nonimmigrant after rejecting USCIS decision that Relx, Inc. d/b/a/ LexisNexis had not shown that the data analyst position was a specialty occupation.

USCIS Returns Unselected FY2020 H‑1B Cap-Subject Petitions

USCIS announced that it has returned all FY2020 H‑1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the lottery. Petitioners who haven’t received a receipt notice or a returned petition for a cap-subject H‑1B petition by August 29, 2019, should contact USCIS for assistance.

The Council Files Another Complaint Challenging USCIS “Not a Specialty Occupation” H-1B Petition Denial

The American Immigration Council filed suit on behalf of a company that provides amenity services to seniors, their families, and their senior communities to challenge USCIS’s “not a specialty occupation” denial of an H-1B petition.

H-1B Cap Reached Within Days, Highlighting America’s Need for Foreign Professionals to Fill Critical Workforce Gaps

USCIS announced that it had once again received more than enough H‑1B petitions within the first five business days of the FY2020 filing period to reach the annual cap of 85,000 new H‑1B visas. The agency received 201,011 petitions, an increase from last year’s total of 190,098.

FY2020 Cap-Subject H‑1B Petitions

USCIS will accept new H‑1B petitions subject to the annual quota for FY2020 starting on April 1, 2019

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