Once again, it is time to start preparing for the H-1B Cap season. As you may be aware USCIS has recently issued a proposed regulation to make changes to the H-1B filing process including making make changes to the lottery process that would increase the odds that U.S. Master’s degree holders will be selected, and introducing a new mandatory online registration system for employers. While USCIS is working to implement the regulation in time for the upcoming H-1B cap season, it is not yet clear whether the agency will meet this timeline, thus employers are encouraged to continue preparing for the H-1B cap season as they normally would.
If the processing remains the same, we once again anticipate that we will have an H-1B lottery. A lottery has been conducted for the past five years for H-1B cap filings. During FY 2019, USCIS received 190,098 petitions within the first five business days of April. During FY 2018, USCIS received 199,000 petitions within the first five business days of April. Similarly, USCIS received 236,000 petitions within the first five business days of April for FY 2017 and 233,000 petitions for the FY 2016 cap season. We also anticipate that the Requests for Evidence to continue in the H-1B category. The USCIS has implemented the Executive Order “Buy America, Hire American: Putting American Workers First” resulting in both procedural and substantive changes. We predict that Request for Evidence will continue specifically in the area of justifying complexity of job duties to sustain that a role qualifies as an H-1B specialty occupation, entry level wages and will continue to question if the degree and/or experience qualifies the individual in the specialty occupation.