The USCIS had just released the Interim Rules for H-1B visa applications.
There are a few very important changes made, that certainly benefit the thousands of H-1B Visa applicants.
Here’s the short version of the H-1B Visa Interim Rules:
- The same Employer cannot file multiple petitions.
- Last year, H-1B visa applications submitted during first 2 days were accepted and processed under the lottery system. This year, H-1B Visa applications submitted during first 5 days will be accepted.
- If more than 20,000 applications were to be received under the master’s degree quota, then the lottery system will be used to approve H-1B Visa and rest of the H-1B Visa applications will be used under the general 65,000 quota.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) transmitted an interim final rule to the Federal Register today that prohibits employers from filing multiple H-1B petitions for the same employee.
These changes will ensure that companies filing H-1B petitions subject to congressionally mandated numerical limits have an equal chance to employ an H-1B worker.
To ensure a fair and orderly distribution of available H-1B visas, the USCIS will deny or revoke multiple petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees submitted with multiple or duplicative petitions.
On April 1, 2008, employers may file petitions requesting H-1B workers for fiscal year 2009 employment starting on October 1, 2008. For fiscal year 2009, the U.S. Congress has set a limit of 65,000 for most H-1B workers.
Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B workers who have a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
Under current procedures, which are not changed by this rule, once USCIS receives 20,000 petitions for aliens with a U.S. master’s degree or higher, all other cases requesting the educational exemption are counted toward the 65,000 cap.
Once the 65,000 cap is reached for a fiscal year, USCIS will announce that the cap has been filled up and will reject further petitions subject to the cap.
This rule also stipulates that if USCIS determines the number of H-1B petitions received meets the cap within the first five business days of accepting applications for the coming fiscal year, USCIS will apply a random selection process among all H-1B petitions received during this time period.
If the 20,000 advanced degree limit is reached during the first five business days, USCIS will randomly select from those petitions ahead of conducting the random selection for the 65,000 limit.
Petitions subject to the 20,000 limit that are not selected in that random selection will be considered with the other H-1B petitions in the random selection for the 65,000 limit.
The rule further clarifies that the USCIS will deny petitions that incorrectly claim an exemption from any H-1B numerical limits. Those filing fees will not be returned.