On April 7, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2018 [link]. The USCIS also announced that it had received a sufficient number of H1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exception.
Because the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H1B cap has been reached, the USCIS will reject and return filing fees for any unselected cap-subject H1B petitions that are not duplicate filings.
The USCIS will continue to process H1B petitions that are otherwise exempt from the H1B cap. The USCIS reminded stakeholders that it suspended premium processing for H1B petitions effective April 3, 2017. That suspension includes cap-exempt H1B petitions. Please see our full article on the temporary suspension of premium processing of H1B petitions to learn more [see article].
The USCIS explained that petitions filed on behalf of H1B workers who have already been counted previously against the annual H1B cap, and who still retain their cap numbers, will not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H1B cap. Accordingly, the USCIS will continue to accept and process H1B petitions that are filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H1B worker may remain in the United States;
- Change the terms of employment for H1B workers;
- Allow current H1B workers to change employers; and
- Allow current H1B workers to work concurrently in a second H1B position.
The USCIS announcement marks the end of a busy filing season for H1B petitions subject to the congressionally mandated FY 2018 H1B cap. H1B petitioners, employers, and workers should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney in the field of employment immigration regarding any issues relating to the H1B program.
Please see our selection of articles on the H1B program to learn more [see category].