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Change in H-1B CAP Procedures on the Horizon?

On December 3rd, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which will affect companies and employees seeking to apply for an H-1B visa.  There is currently an annual cap of 65,000 for H-1B visas (H-1B Regular Cap), with an extra 20,000 visas awarded to those who hold U.S advanced degrees (H-1B Master’s Cap). 

This new procedure intends to change the way these H-1B Cap petitions are filed.  Instead of petitioners submitting completed petitions with all supporting documentation for the H-1B Cap on the first business day of April, they would now need to pre-register with USCIS during a specified registration period.  Under the new rule, the federal government would then notify the petitioner if they were selected to apply for their beneficiary. Then the Petitioner would submit their H-1B Cap application for their beneficiary along with all of the supporting documents.

This new rule also seeks to change the order in which the applications are selected. Instead of the regular H1B Cap selection happening after the H1B Master’s Cap selection, those with Master’s degrees would first be counted towards the overall cap. According to USCIS, this is would increase the number of beneficiaries with a Master’s degree or higher to make it into the regular cap. 

While this is still in its early stages, there is a chance that this rule could be implemented in time to affect the protocol for the upcoming H1B Cap Season.  We urge employers to begin compiling their beneficiaries’ information earlier and have all the necessary information ready to be filed.


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