On Friday, USCIS announced the completion of data entry for all H-1B cap-subject petitions selected for the FY 2020 lottery. Though USCIS did not provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions, in our past experience, it is typically mid-summer before we see returned cases.
Over the past several weeks, we have been notifying clients and foreign nationals as we receive receipt notices for their cases – either the formal paper receipt notice, or confirmation of receipt through the cashing of our filing fee checks. If you have not yet received an email from the legal team member working on your case confirming that it has been accepted, it is likely that your case was not accepted into the H-1B cap – we can also report that we’ve not received confirmation of any new cases being fee receipted (where USCIS takes the filing fees) since last Thursday. We are presuming those cases we have not heard on have not been selected in the lottery and will be returned; however, we will not know definitively until the unselected petition is returned by USCIS. For the cases that have been selected, we will continue to closely monitor case activity and provide updates as additional information is received.
We can also report that we only today received our first H-1B Cap Petition Approval. As USCIS confirmed in their announcement regarding the availability of Premium Processing, this service would commence no later than May 20th. As a result, we anticipate hearing on all of our Premium Processing on or before June 4th – in other words, within 15 days of May 20th. We will update those cases filed under Premium Processing as we receive new information.
This year’s reverse lottery selection, where the regular-cap lottery was conducted first followed by the master’s cap, yielded an increase of 11% from FY 2019 in H-1B advanced degree petitions selected. USCIS had originally forecasted a 16% increase. Ultimately, 63% of master’s cap cases filed were selected into the lottery compared to 37% of regular-cap cases for FY 2020.
The conclusion of data entry for FY2020 marks a new era for USCIS. Next year, for FY 2021, it is anticipated that the agency will implement its new online registration system for cap selection. The new system will require employers to electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period. Only selected registrants will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. USCIS expects the new system to reduce the overall costs for employers and create a more efficient H-1B cap process for the agency and petitioners.
We will continue to provide updates regarding the changes to next year’s cap-season as USCIS announces them.
Last Thursday, President Trump unveiled a new sweeping immigration plan that would emphasize immigrants’ skills over family ties, upending the nation’s rooted immigrant history. The proposal included construction of parts of the Southern Border Wall, further restrictions on asylum claims, longer detentions of immigrant families at the border, a reduction in family-based immigration, an increase in “merit-based” immigration using a point system, and the imposition of a language and civics test for “merit-based” immigration. The plan failed to address a path towards legal status for Dreamers or other undocumented status, a position advocated by Democrats, nor did it reduce the overall level of immigration, a chief concern among Conservatives. The lack of bipartisan support and any bills associated with the proposal have caused critics to describe it as “one-sided,” “not serious,” and “likely to fail.”
We will continue to follow this proposal to see if it gains any traction in Congress and update as appropriate.
The Trump administration has proven it wants to make the immigration process more difficult. This seminar will focus on how we curate cases to avoid denial by the current administration, while also covering important considerations for staying in the U.S. after not being accepted in the H-1B cap lottery. Contingency planning is equally as important for our HR partners as it is for the individual employee, and this session will go into detail to ensure our clients and interested participants have a clear path forward if they are not accepted in the lottery. Additionally, in focusing on the administration’s new filing standards, David will explain how we approach cases, primarily in the H-1B context, to get USCIS adjudicators to say “yes” and avoid the current 24% H-1B denial rate.
As the green card system continues to face stress – because of government inaction, widespread use, and at times government overreach – change is being forced on many immigrants already in the system. We have general availability for EB-2 and EB-3 for “all other countries”, but now applicants face widespread waits in EB-1 and significant backlogs remain for for Indian and Chinese nationals EB-2 and EB-3. Recent dynamics have made the green card process more challenging and there may be new changes in the works as the system adapts to the stress it is under. David will speak about optimizing strategy and decreasing wait times while navigating the green card process. He’ll also talk about likely future shocks and how to address them while planning a long-term path forward. This is an opportunity to better understand a cohesive green card plan and how best to maximize successful outcomes in the least amount of time. This program is ideal for HR partners and managers who need to understand this process, and for employees who want to chart the best course forward.
** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **