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Category: H-1B

Proposed H-1B Cap Registration Fee is currently under Federal Review

Posted June 14, 2019Articles, H-1B

The Department of Homeland Security is moving forward with plans to impose a fee for filing registration in the forthcoming H-1B cap online system. The proposed fee is unknown. This proposal is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget. H-1B cap registration will begin with the FY 2021 H-1B cap season which will begin in early 2020. Under this proposed system, employers would register and submit a fee for each foreign national they wish to sponsor. The Office of Management and Budget has 90 days to review the proposed regulation. Once they have reviewed, the proposal will be published in the Federal Register for public comment for 30 to 60 days. When the comment period closes, DHS will review the feedback and issue a final regulation. It is expected to be in place when the FY 2021 H-1B cap season begins early next year.

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Premium Processing Begins for all H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

Posted June 7, 2019Kristen KellarH-1B

Beginning June 10, 2019 USCIS will open premium processing to all FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions. This year USCIS implemented a two phase approach to premium processing for H-1B cap petitions. Currently, the only H-1B cap petitions that can be upgrade to premium processing are those requesting a change of status.

In addition, USCIS is extending its suspension of pre-paid mailers for H-1B cap cases. USCIS previously announced that it would not accept pre-paid mailers to send out final notices for premium processed H-1B cap petitions requesting a change of status. This suspension will continue through at least June 24, 2019.

If you have any questions about whether premium processing is available for your case, or to upgrade your case to premium processing, please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney.

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President Trump’s New Immigration Proposal and What It Means for H-4 Spouses

Posted June 7, 2019H-1B, Immigration Reform

President Trump recently introduced his senior adviser and son-in-law’s immigration reform proposals. While Trump claims that his plan is “pro-American, pro-immigrant, and pro-worker,” there is little merit to back this claim.

Most notably, part of this reform suggests rescinding the H-4 employment authorization document (EAD) rule, which allows spouses of highly-skilled foreign worked who come to the U.S. under its H-1B visa program. This rule was initially introduced in 2015 under the Obama administration, and has since demonstrated considerable significance to enhance the attrition of highly-skilled workers into the U.S. with the presumption that their H-4 spouses may also pursue their careers. A ban of these work permits would affect countless families of specialized workers in the U.S. and likely deter professionals from seeking employment opportunities in the U.S., ultimately deteriorating the economic necessity for foreign talent.

While this news is incredibly jarring, there are no formal plans of enforcement. It should be noted that efforts to redesign the immigration system has failed to come into effect despite efforts over the past three decades, and Trump’s reformed proposal is merely that; a proposal. It is not set in stone and has yet to take effect.

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USCIS Completes Data Entry for FY 2020 H-1B Cap Lottery

Posted May 20, 2019Stephanie WedelH-1B

USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in the computer-generated random selection process, including those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exemption. As in previous years, USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected and will issue an announcement once the notifications are complete. Due to the volume of filings, there is not a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions.

Additionally, USCIS may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap-subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the workload and enhance efficiencies. If USCIS transfers a petition, they will issue notification by mail.

Please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney if you have any questions.

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H-1B Advanced-Degree Quota Exemption Is Completed for FY 2020

Posted April 12, 2019H-1B


USCIS received 201,011 H-1B petitions during the H-1B cap filing period, which began April 1, enough cases to meet the FY 2020 H-1B quota for the advanced-degree quota exemption of 20,000 and the regular cap of 65,000. USCIS has completed the computerized selection process. After USCIS completed the random selection process for the regular cap, USCIS determined that they had received enough petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. master’s cap.

Filing Receipts and Adjudication

Employers whose petitions were selected should get receipts within weeks, generally by the end of May. Employers who filed their petitions with premium processing have begun to receive email receipts for those petitions. USCIS will set the premium processing 15-day adjudication clock to start on May 20th. However, employers may receive decisions before that date.  It will likely take USCIS several weeks to compete initial data entry and issue filing receipts for petitions filed by regular processing and they are expected to begin working on regular processed cases by mid-June. The cases that were not selected in the lottery will be returned to petitioners with their filing fees in the upcoming months.  

Cap Exempt Petitions

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for 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. 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; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position

Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney for any questions regarding H-1B cap cases.

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