Important Change for the Upcoming H1-B Visa Season
For those employers wishing to employ foreign nationals in a specialty occupation under the H1-B temporary nonimmigrant visa program, applications can be submitted on April 1, 2019 for employees to start on October 1, 2019. Since there are more applications submitted than available visas, a random selection is made from the eligible applicants received. According to a rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the selection process is going to be modified.
In past years, USCIS would first select from the eligible petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with advanced degrees (20,000 visas for those with advanced degrees in addition to the 65,000 visas for those bachelor degrees). After the advanced-degree exemption visas were selected, the remaining beneficiaries would be selected.
Effective April 1, 2019, the selection order will be reversed, and USCIS will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. Following that initial selection, the remaining eligible petitions which qualify for the advanced degree exemption will be selected. According to USCIS, “Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations, given that they may be selected from either group.”
This change will benefit some employers and beneficiaries for positions requiring an advanced degree, while somewhat reducing the number of bachelor- level specialty occupations which can be filled through the H1-B program. Speak with an Immigration Attorney to discuss how this rule change will impact your business.
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