On April 6, 2018, USCIS reached the congressionally mandated H-1B visa and master’s cap limit for the 2019 fiscal year. USCIS received a total of 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period. Of the total petitions received, 65,000 H-1B cap petitions and 20,000 U.S. master’s or higher petitions have been selected via USCIS’ random lottery selection process. Petitions not selected under the master’s cap lottery became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 H-1B cap petitions.
Petitions that were not selected by the random lottery will be returned to petitioners with their filing fees reimbursed. For all selected cap petitions, USCIS will send receipt notices. These petitions will be processed by USCIS over the coming months and petitioners should expect to receive either approval notices or Requests for Evidence.
Despite the increased scrutiny USCIS has been applying to H-1B petitions as of late, it does not appear that employers were significantly discouraged from filing H-1B cap petitions for FY 2019. As the table below demonstrates, H-1B cap filings have dipped only slightly from last year:
|Fiscal Year||Number of H-1B Cap Filings|
While the H-1B statutory cap has been met, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap. These include but are not limited to 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; and
– Allow current H-1B workers to change employers.
PwC Law continues to monitor all legal immigration matters and will be sure to update you as changes occur. For more information on the H-1B cap program, or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP