USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap for Fiscal Year 2020 : Patent Law Firm
USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap for Fiscal Year 2018
On the 7th of April, 2017 the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services stated that it had received adequate H-1B applications to meet the statutory requirement of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The USCIS also stated that it had also received enough petitions to reach the 20,000 advanced degree cap.
The filing period began on the 3rd of April, and the USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions. This number included those filed under the advanced degree exception. On the 11th of April, a computer-generated randomized process was used to select the petitions to meet the general-category cap and the master’s cap.
The selection of the advanced degree was done first, and all unselected advanced degree petitions were included in the general category for further selection. USCIS will reject any unselected petitions, and they will be returned together with the filing fees unless the petition is a duplicate filing. It is important to remember that as of 3rd of March, the USCIS suspended the premium processing of all H-1B petitions, including those that are cap exempted, for a whole six months.
However, USCIS later announced that starting the 24th of July, 2017, the agency would resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt petitions. Premium processing resumed on the 26th of June for all H-1B petitions filed under government agency waivers as well as those filed underhe Conrad 60 program.
The agency will continue to receive cap-exempted H-1B petitions.Current H1-B workers who are renewing their visas will not be counted towards the FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will accept and process petitions filed to address the:
- Extension of stay of an H-1B worker in the US
- Change of terms of employment for H-1B workers
- Change of employers of H-1B workers
- Allow H-1B workers to take up a second H-1B position
What Is the Significance of the H-1B Program?
This program allows companies in the U.S to temporarily employ foreigners in occupations that require a practical and theoretical application of specialized knowledge. H-1B workers may come from different fields such as science, engineering or information technology. The program has allowed the sharing of knowledge across the boundaries and outsourcing of employees that may not be found within the U.S.
What is the Significance of the H-1B Visa?
The H-1B visa is giving companies an opportunity to outsource special employees, while the employees also have a chance to work in the U.S. However, an H-1B worker should strictly work for the sponsoring American company. The H-1B visa has a maximum validity of up to six years, and employers are encouraged to file an I-140 immigrant petition prior to the fifth anniversary of holding their H-1B visas. The H-1B visas can then be renewed in one-year increments until a final decision on their application for permanent residency has been rendered.
However, if the I-140 immigrant petition has been approved but the H-1B visa holder is not in a position to apply for a green card due to their priority date not being current, the applicant may be entitled to a three-year extension of the H-1B visa until the adjustment of the status is complete.
If an H-IB holder does not qualify for any of the exemptions and wishes to work in the U.S. after the 6 years, the applicant will have to live outside the U.S for one year and re-apply for the H-1B visa when the period is complete.
Apart from the 20,000 foreigners with advanced degrees from recognized and approved institutions in the U.S, there are a few more exemptions. 6,800 visas are reserved for Chile and Singapore under Free Trade agreements between these countries and the U.S. Any unused visas out of the 6,800 reservations are utilized for the general-category H-1B applications.
In addition, the following benefit from the cap-exemption:
- Non-profit organizations affiliated with an institution of higher learning
- Non-profit research organizations
- Governmental research organizations
- A beneficiary who has previously been granted an H-1B visa and has stayed in the US for the past six years and not left the U.S. for one year after attaining the status
- If the petition is to request a change in employer and the beneficiary previously worked for i, ii, and iii above
- If the beneficiary is a J-1 nonimmigrant alien who received waiver of the two-year foreign residency requirement
However, an employer has to prove that the majority of the H-1B worker’s duties will be conducted in the organization and that the H-1B worker’s job affects the mission and purpose of the organization.
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