As expected, the government has significantly changed the H-1B visa rules for H-1B visa applications subject to annual numerical limitations (“H-1B cap”). The new rule (1) adds an electronic registration requirement for employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, and (2) reverses the order of selecting petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree (“master’s cap”) exemptions.
Although the final rule will become effective April 1, 2019, the electronic registration requirement is suspended for this year but will be required for applicants next year. So for this year as in past years, employers must file a complete H-1B petition the first week of April. Premium processing is suspended for these petitions.
The second rule change, i.e. the reversal of the selection order under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption, will take place this year. This means that the USCIS will count all applicants towards the 65,000 H-1B regular cap first. Once a sufficient number of applicants have been selected for the H-1B regular cap, USCIS would then select applicants towards the 20,000 U.S. advanced degree exemption.
According to the USCIS, this change might increase the number of selected petitions for H-1B employees with a master’s degree or higher up to 16% (or 5,340 workers). Necessarily, employees with only a bachelor’s degree, or a non-U.S. master’s or higher degree would have lower odds of being selected for the H-1B lottery.
This information is provided as an educational service. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration options, you are invited to call 214-472-2161, complete my contact form, or visit my websites at www.badmuslaw.com and www.physicianimmigration.com.