The past few days has generated a flurry of news regarding the
H-1B specialty occupation visa, including some interesting
developments that surprised many in the U.S. immigration realm. Our
readers should be aware of the following three main
1. The annual cap was reached and the lottery
expected, USCIS announced that the Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B cap
was reached in the first week of filing. Each fiscal year the
agency is afforded 85,000 H-1B petitions that can be approved under
its congressionally-mandated cap. A total of 20,000 of such visas
are awarded to beneficiaries who have graduated a U.S. institution
of higher education with a Master's Degree or higher. As has
been the case for the past five years, all available numbers were
used at the earliest possible movement. Accordingly, USCIS
conducted a computer-generated random selection process (i.e. a
lottery) to select petitions to be adjudicated. The unselected
petitions will be returned to employers, together with their
uncashed filing fees.
The waiting game continues.
Because USCIS has suspended premium processing for all H-1Bs that
could be cap-subject, petitioners may be waiting several weeks
to receive paper receipt notices. In our experience such receipts
will trickle in, somewhat unpredictably, starting this week and
ending in mid-May. Independently of waiting, Petitioners can also
confirm the acceptance of the submission by reviewing the back side
of the filing fee check. USCIS cashes the accepted petitions'
checks and prints a receipt number under the endorsement. While the
timing of confirmation is less predictable, it generally offers a
faster confirmation of acceptance compared to awaiting the receipt
notice by post.
2. USCIS received significantlyfewerpetitions than last
year. For the past five years, as the U.S. economy has
rebounded from the 2008 Financial Crisis and ensuing recession,
H-1B filings have increased every year.
Given the relatively strong economy, most U.S. immigration
professionals were expecting this year's numbers to outpace
last year's – yet filings dropped to their lowest levels
since April 2014. Potential reasons could be that employers are
seeking to use the visa less as a result of previous experience
with the lottery, H-1B related criticism from government officials,
or an increase in hiring overseas.
3. President Trump is to sign an Executive Order
Reviewing the H-1B Visa Regulations. As reported by many
media outlets yesterday, President Trump is soon expected to sign
an executive order calling for the Department of Homeland Security
to review its H-1B regulations as part of his
so-called "buy American, hire American" campaign
Citing unnamed Administration officials, The New York Times reports that USCIS will aim to "mak[e] it
harder for technology companies to recruit low-wage workers from
foreign countries and undercut Americans looking for jobs."
The administration further "seeks changes to the program that
would require applicants and their potential employers to
demonstrate that the visas are going only to 'the most highly
skilled workers' in their fields." How any regulatory
reform will work out remains to be seen, and would be potentially
subject to judicial challenge as limiting the H-1B to "the
best and brightest" would essentially duplicate the O-1
We will keep our readers apprised of all further
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
announced today that the annual H-1B quota for both the regular
65,000 visa petition bachelor's degree cap and the 20,000 visa
petition U.S. master's degree cap has been met for Fiscal Year
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 17, 2017, that it had completed its annual H-1B lottery and had selected a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 65,000 petition bachelor's degree cap and the 20,000 petition U.S. master's degree cap.
April 5, 2017 - Canadian Immigration authorities conducted the 8th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2017 and 58th overall, featuring a record lowest score of 431 and inviting 3753 applicants for permanent residence, under all programs.
In connection with the Trump Administration's desire to crack-down on its perceived misuse of the H-1B visa category, various U.S. government agencies have announced a coordinated effort in re-interpreting regulations as well as newly focused enforcement initiatives.
Beginning June 6, 2017, the Canada immigration department will award points under the comprehensive ranking system in two new areas including strong French language ability, and having a sibling in Canada.
The Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness (MIDI) announced a maximum number of 5000 Skilled Worker Program applications submitted on line ("Mon projet Quebec"), will be accepted for its intake period in 2017. The period of reception will be revealed at a later date.
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