As of Friday, April 5, 2019, USCIS received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions in order to meet the 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2020. The agency is currently in the process of determining whether it has received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa cap for Master’s degree petitions (which includes those with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education). In all likelihood, a sufficient number will have been received.
Having reached the congressionally-mandated cap allotment, USCIS will now conduct the lottery to select petitions for processing. The agency will reject and return filing fees for any unselected petitions.
In conducting the lottery, USCIS will first select 65,000 H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the Master’s degree cap. Then, USCIS will select from the remaining eligible petitions, the 20,000 Master’s degree cap petitions. This change in the order in which USCIS counts these allocations is estimated to increase the number of selected petitions for H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution by approximately 16 percent (or 5,340 workers).
USCIS has stated that it will begin premium processing for petitions requesting a change of status under premium processing no later than May 20, 2019. Given this information, Myers Thompson Medeiros expects to hear about selection or rejection of cap cases by this date. Premium processing for all other cap H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June 2019.
We will continue to provide updates on the H-1B cap as the lottery progresses. If you have questions, please contact any Myers Thompson Medeiros attorney in our office by email or through our main phone line (612) 349-3030.