H-1B Cap for 65,000 (Regular Cap) Has Been Met for FY 2020

USCIS on announced on Friday, April 5th, 2019 that it received enough H-1B cap petitions to meet the 65,000 (Regular Cap) annual limit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The next step will be for USCIS to determine whether it has received enough petitions for the 20,000 H-1B Cap for US Advanced Degree holders (Masters Cap). The Service is expected to make an announcement about the advanced-degree quota in cap the next few days.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the H-1B Cap.

USCIS Has Paused the Use of Pre-Paid Mailers from May 20th to June 3rd

USCIS has also announced that it will not honor petitioners’ requests to use pre-paid mailers to send H-1B cap approvals or other final notices between May 20th and June 3rd. Instead, final notices will be sent by first-class mail only during this period. This means that employers and beneficiaries may wait longer to receive approval notices. The change will affect H-1B cap petitioners who are requesting a change of status and premium processing services.

DHS Grants Additional H-2B Visas for Seasonal Employment Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the availability of 30,000 additional H-2B visas for 2019 seasonal employment. Several years ago, Congress gave the DHS Secretary, in consultation with the Department of Labor, the authority to augment H-2B seasonal visas up to a cap (66,000 per/yr). The Secretary has allowed 15,000 additional H-2B visas in the past two years. This doubling of the allotment comes with a returning worker requirement. That means only those H-2B visa holders who previously held visas in the past three years are eligible to participate in the 30,000 allotment.

The President has discussed the need for additional workers in speeches recently, and his remarks are believed to have had an effect on this announcement.

USCIS Has Published Notice Extending Validity of EADs for Liberian DED Recipients

USCIS has issued a notice automatically extending the validity of employment authorization documents (EAD) for Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients with a printed expiration date of March 31st, 2019 through September 27th, 2019 The notice also provides instructions on applying for an EAD valid through March 30, 2020 when the DED wind-down period will end. Prior to the notice, the wind-down for DED was March 31, 2019. Citing foreign policy interests of the United States, the extension was granted with direction for the Congress to consider “remedial legislation.” The Presidential Memoranda directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to take certain actions for implementation.